Greetings and thank you for joining us on the Joyfully Just Journey!
I am Kamilah, Lailah Majied’s daughter and the granddaughter of Catherine and James Haynes who migrated from Savannah, Georgia to New York City with my Grand Aunt Essie Haynes. My family’s love of learning inspired me at an early age to enjoy brilliant artists and teachers who through their work would be my lifelong familiars. These eternal mentors and comrades include James Baldwin, Stevie Wonder, Khalil Gibran, Toni Morrison, Frida Kahlo, Daisaku Ikeda, Octavia Butler, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, and many others. To further bolster and deepen joy in our lives, my mother introduced us to Islam first and then to Buddhism and I have been practicing in the Mahayana Nichiren Buddhism tradition with the Soka Gakkai International for almost 4 decades.
I was drawn to Buddhism because of the inherent connection between enlightenment and joy and between joy and justice. My practice of Buddhism launched my curiosity about the causes of unhappiness, particularly as unhappiness is created by social oppression. This led me to pursue a master’s degree and then PhD in clinical social work. As a practicing clinical social work therapist and clinical consultant for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to support individuals, families and communities in using Buddhist and other meditative practices in healing from racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of oppression and reclaiming joy in their lives.
As a professor in academia for the last 17 years, I have been privileged to teach clinical social work while also teaching faculty and students worldwide about Buddhism and mindfulness practice from several perspectives including mindfulness based cognitive therapy, mindfulness and racial justice, Buddhism and mental health, and mindfulness practices to preserve the environment. Having taught at Howard University in Washington DC for the past 15 years where I earned tenure, I am currently a Professor of Social Work in California.
During my opening remarks at the first White House Conference of Buddhist Leaders on Climate Change and Racial Justice, I talked about how great joy can emerge from great sorrow if we turn towards the sorrow as if it were a teacher and decide to learn from it, and to enjoy the challenge of doing so. As I co-authored the Buddhist People of Color Statement Calling for Racial Justice, I remember how we struggled and laughed and grew together from our efforts to describe the extraordinary pain of racism and our commitment to use our Buddhist practice to end it. Drawing from over 40 years of contemplative practice and social justice activism, I LOVE engaging practitioners in experiencing wonder, humor and insight as we release oppressive patterns and deepen relationships with one another and with the natural world.
I am particularly delighted to be co-developing this website and co-authoring our soon to be published book entitled Joyfully Just with Dr. Vaishali Mamgain who is my sister, playmate, soul chum, and wise colleague. I welcome you to this space where together we will come to know more deeply our significance and re-cognize and rejoice in the presence of one another on our shared journey towards justice and enlightenment.
Let us Play!
Dr. Majied’s opening comments at the First White House Conference of Buddhist Leaders To Discuss Racial Justice and Climate Justice
Links for selected articles:
List of selected scholarly articles by Dr. Majied
Homophobia In African American Schools
Research on Sexual Minorities in the African Diaspora
Homophobia and Heterosexism in Trinidad