People of Color Group

Meets the third Saturday each Month

Oct 15 – with JoAnna Harper

Nov 19

Dec 17



4300 Melrose


Each monthly meeting includes a 30 minute guided meditation, followed by a group discussion. All who self-identify as a person of color are welcome, buddhists and non-buddhists alike, at all levels of meditation experience.  These groups are offered on a dana/donation basis. No one is ever turned away for lack of funds. This group is facilitated by Valerie Cusson, Erica Shehane, Harry Um and others.

The aim of this group is to support and address the issues that people of color may be struggling with in the American Buddhist traditions. The intention is not to divide, but rather to explore feelings of separateness and disconnectedness, cultivate connections independent of external conditions, and find true freedom in a way that does not ignore difficult social realities.

Valerie Cusson is a high school special education teacher working with At-Risk students in San Bernardino. She came to meditation through yoga and began walking the Buddhist path in 2002.  She completed Facilitator training with Noah Levine and JoAnna Harper in 2012. Valerie also leads a weekly sitting group in Redlands, with the Brahma Viharas as a central practice.

Erica Shehane has had a dedicated practice since 2008. She completed a year of committed compassion practice and a year-long facilitator training with Noah Levine. She played an instrumental role in developing and launching Against the Stream’s Insight on the Inside program and has been a facilitator for ATS’s Young People’s Group and People of Color Group. She has Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Health and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). She currently works at a large non-profit in Los Angeles, conducting community based research to support grassroots organizations, public sector agencies and philanthropic foundations.

Harry Um has had a dedicated practice since 2009. He is a co-facilitator for ATS’s Young People’s Group and People of Color groups, and he has staffed teen meditation retreats for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education since 2012. Harry has a Masters in Social Work from UCLA and works for Los Angeles County as a mental health clinician. He is currently enrolled in UCLA’s Training in Mindfulness Facilitation program.

To receive email updates about this group, please join the Google Group for the Against The Stream People of Color Sangha.

The group will be held at the Melrose Center – 4300 Melrose Ave, LA, 90029

Don’t forget the first Sunday of the month is the POC/Allies Group at 11am in Melrose. More info.