DR. NAAZNEEN DIWAN
Naazneen Diwan is a queer, Muslim, poet, storyteller, performer, myth preserver and maker, social justice educator, and lover of bicycling. She enjoys hiking, climbing trees and the moon. She's a recent motorcycle enthusiast. She has also been an organizer with South Asians for Justice, LA, INCITE! LA, women and gender non-conforming folks against violence, as well as an advocate/ally for the Palestinian liberation struggle and struggles for justice and dignity for immigrants. She has supported the emotional and spiritual wellness of Black Lives Matter, LA and Dignity and Power Now! organizers through facilitating meditation and mindfulness circles across LA, from LAPD headquarters to Wellness Clinics for families impacted by violence in LA jails. With a PhD in Gender Studies from UCLA, she has taught courses in Arabic, Interracial Solidarity, Gender and Knowledge, Disability Studies and Gender and Race in the U.S. at Ohio State University, UCLA and CSULA for over 12 years. She's a transnational Activist-Scholar who builds dynamic, vibrant community wherever she goes: from working as a translator at an underground human rights publication in Damascus, Syria to co-founding a transnational feminist, 10-day convening in Berlin, Germany. She absolutely loves working with youth and co-creating decolonial education spaces; she's lead workshops on Islamophobia at Bay Area Solidarity Summer, a social justice retreat for South Asian Youth, co-facilitated a workshop on storytelling and art activism at SoCal Solidarity for LGBTQ South Asian youth, and organized Decompression Spaces to support the holistic wellness of participants. In recent years, she has joined the Steering Committee of Vigilant Love, a coalition of Japanese and Muslim Americans, to combat Islamophobic policies, reclaim public space through performance, and nurture community safety and trust building with healing justice practices. Her love of mangoes and trains lead her back to her homeland of India after 15 years of separation. She worked in Gujarat, India for two years facilitating creative arts and healing workshops with Muslim women activists and survivors and studying the 2002 genocide against Muslims. She also conjured up a California iteration of these arts and empowerment workshops, called KalaaShakti (Kalaa [Ka -lah]: radical art; Shakti [shuck - tee]: the dynamic energy from which prakriti (nature) manifests, prakriti being the inherently creative, active and productive force that creates the world). Currently, she has moved back to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio where she is Lead Instructor for Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency hosted by Twelve Literary Arts and where her heart is continually blown open by the depth of vulnerability and authenticity of the all-people of color cohort. After her first writing residency with Art Omi, she is nearing the finish of her first poetry book, 99 Names, a Sufi-Buddhist collaboration with her painter father. Her poems and prose have appeared in The Yale Review, Entropy Mag, Sky Island Journal, Cathexis Press, Serendipity Magazine, fly paper magazine, Kohl, Project As[I]Am, SAMAR, MOONROOT and others.
AND, with this flurry of projects and travel, her ultimate mission in life is simple: to give as many deep, soul embracing hugs as possible and spread love and powerful expression wherever she goes.
Offerings: healing arts workshops, meditation for social justice activists, and poetic performance for collective liberation. Looking forward to connecting and building! Contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org