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New York City Leadership Jam 2017

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Thursday, April 27 morning to Sunday, April 30 afternoon

Join the first ever NYC Jam gathering diverse and intergenerational changemakers from the New York City Metro area to co-create a safer space for truth telling, healing, compassion, and understanding. Commit to collective visioning, liberation, and transformation at all levels.

Apply today!

Priority Application Deadline: February 24, 2017

Final Application Deadline: March 24, 2017



Why a NYC JAM Now?

We are living in turbulent and uncertain times with massive loss of human life caused by war, incarceration, forced migration, police violence, and unchecked environmental devastation. Patriarchal white supremacists are rallying and assuming positions of power in our government. Many of our communities are being targeted, particularly our Black, immigrant, poor, Muslim, and LGBTQGNC communities of color. Folks living in the NY metro area, working to improve the social, emotional, political, and spiritual lives of our communities, need intentional space to come together for healing, sharing strategies to protect each other, visioning past each 4 year election cycle, and strengthening our hearts for the work that matters most to us.
We come together to ask the following: How do we align our lives with our values? How do we grieve the losses of the past and present? How do we survive and thrive living in NY, “The Belly of the Beast”? How do we pursue our most sincere visions for the future? How can we practice communal well being?
In the middle of the intense pace and culture of New York, we stop to see how the work of slowing down, reconnecting to ourselves, to each other, and to nature can re-energize, reframe, and realign our work in the city. We seek to explore the ways we can integrate heart and wellbeing into sometimes over rational, intellectual, combative, and reactive methods in our fight for justice and peace. The work of the jam is about being present, deep listening, radical compassion, connecting to nature, and play in order to touch into intimate places of tension as well as questions around our role in collective liberation and creating communal prosperity.


Why A “JAM”?

We call our gatherings Jams because we are inspired by music jam sessions. YES! Jams bring together the same creativity, co-learning, and fun for social change. When musicians get together to "jam," they get to share their unique skills and knowledge, as well as learn from the other musicians. They get to hear and experience other styles of music while expanding their own horizons. They are also able to have fun, build community, and use their individual talent, inspiration and skills to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. When musicians improvise, they create music that no one has ever heard before. YES! Jams do the same for people changing the world. Jams have a unique, co-creative facilitation team, and the engine of the jam will be your questions, your wisdom, your challenges and your curiosity. We will co-create. We will jam!




Are you:
Hungry to build bridges across divides within yourself and across relationships and communities?
Committed to using your resources and leveraging your privileges in alignment with your values?
Overwhelmed with options and not sure exactly how to stand by a cause?
Wondering how to deepen your understanding of what positive impact even is?
Interested in shedding guilt and paralysis and ready to rethink what power means for you?
Seeking a healthy relationship to your gifts, skills and resources?
If so, then yes, the Jam is for you.  
Check out the application too — If you want to fill it out, then definitely the JAM is for you!




We’re in a unique and powerful moment. There is a call for ideological and political interventions to bring justice and equity to situations that are thoroughly unjust – from #BlackLivesMatter to Marriage Equality to the largest climate change march in the world.
The Jam is an opportunity to explore new pathways, internally, interpersonally and systemically, to meet this moment. It’s a chance for us to come together, learn, draw from our commonalities and heal across our divides to be able to bring all of who we are to the table to create a vision of the world in which we want to live. Why? Because we are at a Tipping Point. Because the time for holding back is gone. Because in order to rise to the challenges we’re facing, it’s going to take all of us.
Jams focus on three interdependent levels of awareness:
The Jam is a place to share and reflect on your life journey and your work in the world. It is also an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge.
We come together to deepen in our understanding of each other and of ourselves in the intention of building trust and friendship in a meaningful way. We feel that the more authentic our relationships are, the stronger the foundations on which new collaborations and synergies within our movements and communities are built. Cultivating a deeper understanding of our many-layered identities is a key part of how we can build a more resilient, interconnected web of transformation.
The Jam gives us time to become clearer about our vision and our work in the world; we get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points in a manner that will aid us in reimagining what we believe to be possible and reengineering how we intend to get there. We hope it will enable each participant to deepen their capacity to effect change and carry their dreams forward.


Dates, Venue and Contribution

The NYC Jam will be held from Thursday morning April 27 to Sunday, April 30 afternoon. The local of this year’s JAM is The Watershed Center in Millerton, NY.  Local, seasonal, organic food will be provided from their farm and their neighbors farm, and housing will be in shared rooms of 2-3 people per room.
Tuition for the Jam is $650, of which $320 covers food and lodging for the time, $330 covers program expenses (facilitation honorarium, materials, childcare, etc.).  Some partial scholarships are available by request on an as-needed basis, and work trades are also available.
We ask that applicants consider paying a minimum of $320 (of the total of $650) for their tuition. Payment plans (e.g. monthly payments over the year) can be arranged as well.



Who Is Putting on the New York CIty Jam?


Photo on 7-4-13 at 11.46 AM #3Lillian Hanan Al-Bilali has been inspired to deepen her understanding of how diverse communities can become more interconnected and, particularly, how shared experiences create space for dialogue — ever since she participated in the 2010 Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam. Since her college years, one of her most consistent passions has been issues of youth empowerment and Black Liberation. Her student activism at Hampton University focused on societal inequalities especially in regards to substandard education and high incarceration rates for youth of color. Following graduation, Hanan became an administrator at Children’s Arts and Science Workshops (CASW), a non-profit agency in New York City. Here, she mentored young people from the Washington Heights and Harlem communities by preparing them for college and for the work force. Wanting to have a deeper impact on the communities she was working with, Hanan returned to school to study Social Work at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During her time she studied the school to prison pipeline, specifically in Wayne County. Her concentration in Social Policy and Evaluations allows her to focus on strengthening services offered through the non-profit sector at the state and local levels. She continues to make people her priority as a committed collaborator with organizations and initiatives that support underrepresented communities throughout Upper Manhattan and The Bronx.


JAM Photo AThrough her work with Seeds of Peace, Sarah Brajtbord is deeply committed to working with and empowering young people to find their voice, discover their passion, and live a life of meaning. Finding conflict as an opportunity for growth and breakthrough and recognizing that community and systemic change starts with the self, Sarah strives to lead a life of curiosity, patience, honesty, and presence. She finds strength in community and continuously works to deepen her understanding of the world around her. Working with young people is a privilege and responsibility that demands accountability to her own process of self-reflection and growth, and Sarah is grateful for the inspiring community of JAM-mers who have already begun pushing her further along her path.


FB_IMG_1462923518221After 21 years of living in the north, Jovan Julien moved south in 2010 after graduating from school. Since then he has called Atlanta, GA home. He works in the same city and regionally working on building intersectional movement with organizers, community members, and friends grounded in a practice of Beloved Community. His work often has him moving between the US South, the Tri-State Area, and the Caribbean as he brings his skills, passions, and dreams into being.




IMG_6044Nandita Batheja is a writer, educator, dancing body, activist and deeply curious human being. She spent the past several years working with schools in New York and Boston, with the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India, as a curatorial assistant at Elsewhere Museum and as a community manager for Idealist.org. Nandita currently serves as a content writer/curriculum designer for the children’s wear social enterprise art & eden. She also teaches independently and organizes community gatherings for collective creativity and discovery. She's delightedly growing her facilitation practice as an InterPlay Leader-in-Training while pursuing further education in design. She is in love with Rumi and remembers she's alive whenever her skin touches the earth.


gisellepicGiselle Castaño is an educator-astrologer-artist living in Brooklyn, NY for the past 8 years, originally from Mexico City, México. Giselle has taught many subjects over the years in many settings. Currently they work for a women’s empowerment organization going into different middle schools to teach groups of young women. Giselle is also a dedicated student of astrology and aspires to teach more in this realm! Swimming in the ocean is the best therapy for this water baby.




IMAG1386LiZhen Wang is an organizer and spiritual counselor who integrates astrology, sacred sexuality, tarot, and limpias into their practice. LiZhen currently serves as the Leadership Development and Networks Coordinator for Buddhist Peace Fellowship, where they unite social justice with spiritual practice to build towards collective liberation. They also lead a monthly healing and whole-ing circle in their home base of Queens, NY.  As an organizer for racial and economic justice, LiZhen has led campaigns targeting the state's biggest utility company to pay its security officers a living wage; fighting the Providence Police Department's use of gang injunctions targeting Asian-American youth; and most dear to their heart, mobilizing their own workplaces to win just conditions, so that non-profits can practice what they preach.  In addition to organizing, they have made dough nannying, writing higher ed communications, and playing professional humiliatrix. They are humbled and grateful for it all.
If you have any questions, you can reach us at <nycleadershipjam@gmail.com>. 


Apply today!

We look forward to Jamming with you!

– Hanan, Giselle, Sarah, Jovan, LiZhen and Nandita