About this IMS Online Program

This program was recorded live on Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dalit American activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan puts forth a call to awaken and act. She ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective--and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures on the caste-oppressed.

Soundararajan’s work includes embodiment exercises, reflections, and meditations to help readers explore their own relationship to caste and marginalization—and to step into their power as healing activists and changemakers. She offers skills for cultivating wellness within dynamics of false separation, sharing how both oppressor and oppressed can heal the wounds of caste and transform collective suffering. Incisive and urgent, The Trauma of Caste is an activating beacon of healing and liberation, written by one of the world’s most needed voices in the fight to end caste apartheid.

“… a powerful reintroduction to Buddhism as a response to the unjust suffering of caste.… The Trauma of Caste is an instant socially engaged Buddhist classic and is crucial reading for all who are committed to Sanghas rooted in liberation in all beings.”—Rhonda V. Magee


Picture of Guy Armstrong

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American artist, community organizer, technologist, and theorist. Currently, Thenmozhi is the Executive Director of Equality Labs, which she co-founded. Equality Labs is the largest Dalit civil rights organization working to empower caste-oppressed people in the US and globally. Through her work at Equality Labs, Thenmozhi has mobilized South Asian Americans towards dismantling eons-long systems of oppression, with the goal of ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. Thenmozhi previously co-founded Third World Majority, an international media training organization and collective that supported people from disenfranchised groups in telling their own stories, in their own way.

Her intersectional, cross-pollinating work—research, education, art, activism, and digital security—helps to create a more generous, global, expansive, and inclusive definition of South Asian identity, along with safe spaces from which to honor the stories of these communities. Thenmozhi’s work has been recognized by the U.S. Congress, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Producers Guild of America Diversity Program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Sorbonne, Source Magazine, Utne Reader, The National Center for the Humanities, The National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She is a frequent contributor on issues related to South Asia, caste, gender, and racial Equity, as well interfaith issues and peace building, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Guardian, ABC, and NBC news.  She was also an inaugural fellow of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist,  Atlantic Foundation for Racial Equity, and is a current fellow at Stanford Center for South Asian Studies.  You can order her new book The Trauma of Caste from North Atlantic Books to learn more about her work around caste equity, abolition, and healing.


Picture of Kristina BaréAishah Shahidah Simmons (she/her) is a survivor-healer, a Theravadin Buddhist, and a trauma-informed Mindfulness meditation teacher. She’s been studying and practicing vipassana meditation since 2002. Aishah studied and practiced exclusively for 17 years in the S.N. Goenka lineage, including sitting and serving 40 residential vipassana meditation retreats ranging from 10-30 days in the U.S. and in India. In the fall of 2019, she began studying and practicing in the Insight lineage. Her primary teachers are Tuere Sala and DaRa Williams. Aishah is also an award-winning Black feminist lesbian filmmaker and author whose work, NO! The Rape Documentary, and love WITH accountability, breaks silences around childhood and adult sexual violence, offer healing paths for trauma, and provide distinct visions for humanely disrupting the inhumane epidemic of sexual violence. She wrote the Epilogue to Thenmozhi's The Trauma of Caste: A Dalit Feminist Meditation On Survivorship, Healing, and Abolition. 

More Information

  • Registration Deadline

    Registration for this program closes on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 5:00 pm ET.

  • Program Recordings

    This program will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing after the live sessions. On-demand videos will be available to registered participants only for 90 days.

  • Additional Questions

    If you have additional questions please contact us at [email protected].