11th Annual Women’s Visionary Congress
After a three-year hiatus, the Women’s Visionary Congress will gather again!
Twenty-four activists, researchers, healers and artists will present their work. Information about the speakers and their presentations is below.
The Women’s Visionary Congress promotes women and their allies who create groundbreaking strategies for healing and social change.
For the first time, the gathering will take place at the Omni Commons in Oakland, CA. The Omni Commons was created by and for community activist collectives.
Tickets are $125 for the entire weekend or $65 per day. People of all genders are welcome.
(in alphabetical order)
Tania Abdul is a member of the Bay Area maracatu performance group, Maracatu Pacífico. Maracatu is an Afro-Brazilian music and dance form and Tania has studied Brasilian music and arts since 2008. She is one of the performers of Mulhercatu (from "mulher" meaning women) which was created to give the women of Maracatu Pacífico an opportunity to perform together. Tania is an artists, a plant woman, and Oakland, CA-based social activist. She serves as the WVC webmistress and is also helping to organize this year’s Women’s Visionary Congress.
Ismail Lourido Ali
Presentation: “When the World is Just: Psychedelic Science after Prohibition"
Psychedelic medicine and therapy are on track to be snugly included within a “mainstream” mental healthcare paradigm. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) predicts that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could be legally available as a treatment for PTSD by 2021, and psilocybin will soon follow. In the meantime, ketamine-assisted treatment is changing the landscape of mental healthcare as we know it. The medical model succeeds when patients suffering from and diagnosed with a variety of indications have legal access to psychedelic treatment in clinical or therapeutic contexts. However, this success is shadowed by the reality that mainstream medicine is costly, limited in scope, and inaccessible to many. At the margins, other issues emerge that must also be addressed – complex ethical questions, an influx of capital, and the risks and challenges inherent in a creating new modalities – or supporting their transition out from the underground and into the light. Given this multifaceted reality, exactly how will the field of psychedelic medicine truly embody the vortex of transformational evolutionary change it purports to be? In order to answer that question, this talk and discussion will consider how restorative, reparative, and regenerative policies can be integrated into psychedelic science “after” prohibition.
Ismail Lourido Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he supports the development and implementation of strategies to create legal access to psychedelic substances in medical, sacramental, and personal contexts. Ismail is licensed to practice law in the state of California, and presently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Ismail has previously served as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Board of Directors, and has worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, as well as for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he received his J.D. Ismail believes that entheogenic consciousness is a crucial piece for challenging oppression in all of its forms.
Dr. Raquel Bennett
Presentation: “Ketamine for Depression and Spiritual Exploration”
Dr. Bennett will give an overview of the field of therapeutic ketamine. Ketamine is medicine that was developed as a surgical anesthetic, but which also has rapid-acting antidepressant effects and visionary properties. Dr. Bennett will describe different ways of working with ketamine, including low-dose infusions and nasal spray, ketamine-facilitated psychotherapy, and psychedelic ketamine journeys. She will also talk about which patients are appropriate for ketamine treatment and which patients would not be a good fit for this approach, according to the most current medical literature. In addition, Dr. Bennett will talk briefly about the pharmacology of ketamine and legal considerations about working with ketamine in clinical practice.
Raquel Bennett, Psy.D. is a psychologist and a ketamine specialist from Berkeley, CA. She primarily works with people who are living with severe depression, bipolar disorder, and/or suicidal ideation. She is fascinated by the antidepressant properties of ketamine, and has been studying this for over seventeen years. She also has a long-standing interest in the psychedelic and mystical properties of ketamine, and the potential for this medicine to be used for spiritual exploration. Dr. Bennett is the founder of KRIYA Institute and the organizer of KRIYA Conference, which is an annual and international event devoted to understanding the uses of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy. You can learn more about her work at www.kriyainstitute.com.
Presentation: "Growing & Creating Your Herbal Apothecary"
Now more than ever we need to empower ourselves to take our health into our own hands. The herbal kingdom that surrounds us offers us a wealth of health and vitality. From seed to tincture, or from wildcrafted local plants, we can stock our medicine chests full of potent and effective remedies that offer both immunity and resilience to our families and communities. Maya will lead us through her journey as an herbalist and organic farmer growing and processing medicinal plant species into handcrafted seasonal medicine that can be used for preventative health, tonics, to fight infection and more!
Maya Blow is a wife, mother, herbalist, classical homeopath, organic farmer and educator practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied herbal medicine at the California School of Herbal Studies in Northern California, completed four years of homeopathic medical school at the Institute of Classical Homoeopathy in San Francisco, studied Afro Botany through the NCB School of Herbalism & Holistic Health as well as studies Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurveda through the East West School of Planetary Herbalism. After graduating from homeopathic medical school, Maya went on to teach materia medica at the ICH. Maya has been studying, practicing and making herbal medicine her whole life and brings to her practice an innate sensitivity, empathy and powerful intuition towards her clients. Besides her passion for holistic and alternative medicine, Maya is an artist and avid crafter. Maya teaches nature studies, gardening, herbal medicine making, permaculture design and many other homesteading and DIY classes. She has been making and teaching art for two decades and continues to draw her inspiration from her love of nature. Some of her hobbies include organic gardening, animal husbandry, foraging for wild food, fermenting and canning, making herbal medicine, cheese making, and dying with plants. She currently spends most of her time making and selling her hand crafted herbal medicine and cultivating her organic farm in El Sobrante where she lives with her husband and sons, chickens, bees, sheep and jersey milk cows. Maya is also the founder and director of the Soul Flower Farm School of Earth Medicine for Herbal Studies and Permaculture Design.
Presentation: “Unraveling Opium”
From today’s headlines one might think that the current opiate crisis is unprecedented, but in fact it is merely the latest iteration of a cycle that has been going for hundreds of years. Both extolled as a panacea and reviled as a panapathogen, our culture’s relationship with opium (and its derivatives) is fraught. Unsurpassed at relieving physical and psychic pain, they can also be extremely dangerous, even fatal, if used unwisely. But our understanding of the history of opium is clouded by myths and distortion. This talk will lay out how opium developed and will reveal the mysteries that still lie at the heart of the matter. And it will lay out the path which has led us to our present situation, in the hope that a better understanding will help to reduce the many forms of suffering which attend our present-day attitudes toward one of the oldest plant medicines.
Scott Bodarky is an independent researcher who has been studying the history of opium for many years. He has worked in a number of different domains, including Internet technology, real estate, book publishing, event production, and the new Cannabis industry. He published a book about cocktails, recently started a recording studio in Oakland called The Dime, is working on a new album, and was Sasha Shulgin’s Go opponent.
Presentation: “Dreamhacking: Consciousness Exploration and Dream Experimentation”
For this special WVC event, join dreamers from around the world for an exploration of consciousness using liminal dream practices and the oneirogen calea zacatechichi. Participants are invited to join the Oneironauticum, a worldwide dream event. Saturday evening, liminal dream expert and Oneironauticum founder Jennifer Dumpert will introduce hypnagogia and hypnopompia—together called liminal dreams—the unique dream states that lie between waking and sleep. Participants will be led into hypnagogia, the swirling, psychedelic, free associative dream space you experience as you fall asleep. Jennifer will provide several easy exercises to allow you to experience hypnagogia and hypnopompia on your own. She will also explain various uses for liminal dreams, such as sparking creativity, assisting with both mental and physical healing, and consciousness exploration.
Jennifer will also discuss the use of oneirogens, any substance, practice, or experience that promotes or enhances dreaming. Along with other endogenous highs—those naturally produced by the body—and subtle allies—substances that require your active participation—oneirogens provide gentle but profound psychoactive experiences. As part of the event, the Full Circle Teahouse will serve tea made from calea zacatechichi, a dream herb traditionally used by the Chontal, a Maya people of southern Mexico. Sunday morning, participants will gather for dream sharing, either in person or remotely, as part of the Oneironauticum.
Founded in 2008, the Oneironauticum gathers dreamers world wide on a given night to work with the same oneirogen. At least one group sleeps in the same location, while dreamers from disparate locations join remotely, all using the same oneirogen. As part of this event, dreamers around the globe will use either liminal dream practices or calea zacatechichi tea, or both, to enhance dream experiences and join WVC participants as we come together as a community of dreamers. Via web conferencing technology, dreamers outside the Bay Area will have access to the Saturday evening talk and to Sunday morning dream sharing.
Jennifer Dumpert is a San Francisco-based writer, lecturer, and consciousness hacker. She is the author of Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep, due for publication in May 2019. She is the founder of the Oneironauticum, an international organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams as a means of experimenting with mind. She also teaches the practice of Liminal Dreaming—surfing the edges of consciousness using hypnagogic and hypnopompic dream states.
Presentation: Opening the 2019 Women’s Visionary Congress with a land acknowledgement.
Corrina Gould is the spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, the territory of Huichuin. She is an activist that has worked on preserving and protecting the ancient burial sites of her ancestors in the Bay Area for decades. She is the Co-founder and a Lead Organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run grassroots organization, and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women’s community organization working to return land to Indigenous stewardship in San Francisco’s East Bay.
Presentation: “The Importance of POC Only Spaces"
Ifetayo first joined the Drug Policy Alliance as an intern in 2013 and has been an integral part of the Communications staff since 2016. She has shared her experience of being personally impacted by the drug war, and plays an instrumental role in developing DPA's voice and perspective with LGBTQIA+ audiences. As Marketing Coordinator, Ifetayo manages DPA's social media channels, and works in creative development, marketing, inventory management, distribution of promotional materials, and coordination and sponsorship of DPA's presence at third-party events. Ifetayo also contributes to digital advertising and assists in posting web content, as well as other special projects. Ifetayo founded the People of Color in Psychedelics Coalition with Duane David in November 2017 with a mission to highlight and engage the work of people of color in psychedelics. She has spoken about her experience on National Public Radio and HuffPost Live. Ifetayo is from Charleston, South Carolina and has a B.A. in History and African Studies from Smith College.
Tsion “Sunshine” Lencho is a graduate of Stanford Law School and cannabis law expert assisting companies, lawmakers and consumers in navigating the complex regulatory environment of medicinal and adult-use cannabis globally. Formerly corporate counsel at Privateer Holdings, Ms. Lencho supported portfolio companies and brands including Leafly, Tilray, Marley Natural, and Goodship. She is co-founder and former Board Chair of Supernova Women. A committed citizen, Ms. Lencho previously served as Mayor Libby Schaaf’s appointee to the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission and received a commendation from San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen in 2017 for her service to San Francisco’s African American community. Ms. Lencho also served on the Board of Directors of the California Growers Association and as the Interim Chapter Director for the organization’s San Francisco/Oakland Chapter. Ms. Lencho has been a featured lecturer and speaker at Stanford Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Boalt Hall, Fast Company’s Innovation Festival as well the International Cannabis Business Conference, the National Cannabis Industry Association Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, and the National Cannabis Festival. Ms. Lencho’s expertise and advocacy in the cannabis space has been featured in The Root, Black Enterprise, The Establishment, Vice, Politico, NPR, The Guardian, Forbes, and Culture Magazine.
Presentation: “From Underground to Mainstream: How Drug Checking has Become a Vital Tool to Combat the Consequences of the War on Drugs”
In today’s unregulated, prohibition-driven drug markets, adulteration and misrepresentation are at an all-time high, and so are the risks that accompany them. Public health and government officials, politicians, law enforcement, and prosecutors are beginning to recognize the importance of drug checking as a legitimate public health tool to prevent adverse medical incidents and even death. In this presentation, we will explore the basics of drug checking, it’s history and barriers, and why it should be implemented as an immediate, tangible solution to combat the consequences of the War on Drugs.
Madalyn is a lawyer and activist, drug policy reformer, and harm reductionist. She currently serves as Deputy Director for DanceSafe, a 501(c)(3) public health organization that promotes health and safety in the electronic music and nightlife communities. In her role at DanceSafe, she advocates for the safer consumption of drugs by providing resources and peer education on outreach at music festivals and nightlife events, in addition to various organizational and operational duties.
Madalyn’s involvement in drug policy and harm reduction began in 2012 as Director of her law school’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, where she hosted various educational events related to harm reduction, cannabis law, and the impacts of the War on Drugs. Madalyn has extensive knowledge in the legal aspects of both nonprofit operations and drug policy, and has 6 years of experience sitting on the board of a startup nonprofit. She believes that drug policy should be rooted in science, compassion, and public health, and is dedicated to helping dismantle the War on Drugs.
Dr. Mariavittoria Mangini
Mariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP, has been a family nurse midwife for twenty five years. She has written extensively on the impact of psychedelic experiences in shaping the lives of her contemporaries, and has worked closely with many of the most distinguished investigators in this field. She serves on the board of the WVC. Her current project is the development of a Thanatology program for the study of death and dying.
Lanese Martin is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Hood Incubator. Lanese spearheads the organization's political strategy, including base-building, community organizing, and policy advocacy work. Lanese began her professional career consulting small family businesses by systemizing their operations and developing growth strategies for them. While studying for an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise she began to shift her focus to political organizing and progressive campaigns. Her work as the Field Director for an Oakland-based nonprofit led to deep relationships with non-profits and Black & Brown communities in Oakland and across California. Alternatively, her work as the Field Director for Nancy Skinner's successful 2016 California State Senate race led to strong relationships with elected leaders as well as their staff across the Bay Area. Lanese attained a B.A. in Political Science & Minor in Business from Dominican University of California and later returned for an MBA. In June 2017, Lanese was featured on the cover of DOPE Magazine and in November 2017, she was named to the 2017 Full Color 50 List.
Presentation: “Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy”
This presentation will provide an overview of legal and ethical issues for therapists and their clients in Canada. While psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has shown efficacy in clinical trials for numerous indications and substances, this type of psychotherapy currently remains illegal. However, clients are still interested in these treatments and may ask their therapists to provide them or independently seek out these experiences. Furthermore, therapists may want to advocate for access to these psychotherapeutic approaches for their clients, given the efficacy shown in the research. This workshop will review the complex legal and ethical issues for both clients and therapists who have an interest in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. This presentation will draw on the work of Dr. Bruce Tobin, who has spent significant time considering these topics.
Eleonora Molnar is a psychotherapist, health care systems planner, and an independent researcher with interests in public and primary health, drug policy reform, and consciousness research. She studies ethical considerations and therapeutic approaches related to non-ordinary states of consciousness and healing. She currently maintains a private counseling practice and does independent consulting. Eleonora is the Executive Director of the Women’s Visionary Congress in Canada.
A long-time local food activist, Joy Moore played a key role in community efforts to reform school lunch in the Berkeley Unified School District, co-founded Farm Fresh Choice, of the Ecology Center, serves on the Boards of Spiral Gardens, Planting Justice and Pie Ranch, and is a member of the Berkeley Food Policy Council. She has lived and worked in Berkeley since 1969 having migrated from New York city. Retired from the City of Berkeley Chronic Disease Prevention Program in 2007, she attended UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Joy currently teaches a garden based nutrition program to high school students and their families in the Berkeley Unified School District. She has served on many non-profit boards and councils, including the Ecology Center, Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley Food Policy Council, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates and the local station board of KPFA/Pacifica Radio. She currently serves as a City of Berkeley Citizen Commissioner on the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Panel of Experts, aka the Soda Tax, a component of Healthy Berkeley. Joy strives to provide access to low resource communities to be able to grow and eat organically.
Mulhercatu (from "mulher" meaning women and "maracatu,” an Afro-Brazilian music and dance form) was created to give the women of the Bay Area's maracatu performance group, Maracatu Pacífico, the autonomy to perform on their own. Their joy in performing with just the female fraction of the greater group was sparked after a theatrical performance at the 2017 Cuba Caribe festival that deeply impressed the judges, and then a gig at the Dyke March in San Francisco. Maracatu is a cultural phenomenon from the northeast of Brazil that dates back to when Africans were enslaved. It still represents the resistance, pride, and spiritual community of people with African ancestry there, and its popularity has grown throughout Brazil and around the world. Maracatu is fierce and proud, and often honors the orixás (deities) of candomblé who represent aspects of both the natural world and humans.
Mulhercatu is honored to present the history and cultural traditions of maracatu, and to speak about women finding their power and voices. Their speakers will be Tania Abdul and Maria Padilha, who was raised in the spiritual community this music represents. The group will also perform some songs and teach everyone joyful maracatu dance moves!
Annie Oak is the founder of the Women’s Visionary Congress and co-founder of the Women’s Visionary Council. She is a science and technology journalist and works with researchers who analyze data about human rights violations. Founder of the San Francisco-based Full Circle Tea House, she is also co-founder of Take 3 Presents, which produces immersive art events. Annie studies risk reduction and conflict resolution protocols that reflect best practices in the visionary community and evolving strategies for collective wellness and harmony.
Chef Emma Sanchez has built her catering and event production company Chef Dilemma the last 5 years working with private groups, organizations and families before working as Chef de Cuisine at Eden East in Austin, Texas. She focuses her work on feeding people with love, connecting traditional food technique from around the world with the bounty of our local harvest. Her no nonsense approach to farm & table dining pairs with her passion for access and education of local food resources for all communities. She studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Her experience includes working at world renowned San Francisco restaurants; One market, A16 and Foreign Cinema, as well as teaching and organizing world class catering experiences with countless organizations.
Danielle Schumacher earned a degree in Anthropology in 2004 at the University of Illinois where she co-founded chapters of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2001. Danielle was recruited by the Berkeley Patients Group in 2005 to head the Cannabis Action Network. As the first Chancellor of Oaksterdam University, she worked with Richard Lee to establish America’s first cannabis college. For over a decade, Danielle has served as office manager for Frank Lucido MD and Maria Mangini PhD FNP in Berkeley, California. She has also served on the Board of Directors for National NORML, the University YMCA, Channing-Murray Foundation, and PUEBLO: People United for a Better Life in Oakland.Danielle’s newest project, THC Staffing Group, is a boutique recruiting firm whose mission is to encourage diversity in the cannabis industry.
Ann Shulgin (born 22 March 1931) is an American author and the widow of chemist Alexander Shulgin. Laura Ann Gotlieb was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and grew up in the village of Opicina outside the Italian city of Trieste; her father was U.S. Consul in these places, in Trieste for six years before World War II. Later in her childhood she lived in the US, Cuba, and Canada. She studied art and became an artist, married an artist and had a child, and they later divorced. She had two more marriages ending in divorce and had three more children. Ann went back to work as a medical transcriber, and met Alexander ("Sasha") Shulgin in 1978; they were married on 4 July 1981 in their back yard.
She worked as a lay therapist with psychedelic substances such as MDMA and 2C-B in therapeutic settings while these drugs were still legal. In her writings she stresses the potential of these drugs from a Jungian psychoanalytic perspective, as well as their use in combination with hypnotherapy. She often appears as a speaker at conventions, and has continued to advocate the use of psychedelics in therapeutic context.
Together with her husband she has authored the books PiHKAL and TiHKAL, and contributed to the books Thanatos to Eros: 35 Years of Psychedelic Exploration, Entheogens and the Future of Religion, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide, The Secret Chief Revealed, Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics, and Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality.
Christine is a brain tumor survivor, mother of four, and cannabis advocate. In 1996, she was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma, a rare benign brain tumor. An unsuccessful surgery left 60% of the tumor still intact. Due to complications during the surgery Christine was unable to rejoin the workforce and had to file for disability. Over the course of the next 16 years she would have other diagnoses added to the list. The downturn in health left her housebound and bedridden for the better part of two decades. In 2012, her health declined even further. She turned once again to her doctor for help, this time inquiring about cannabis. Through her own research, she eventually tried cannabis and found that it mitigated her symptoms that had kept her trapped in stagnation for so long.
Knowing there wasn’t safe legal access to medical cannabis in Utah she started advocating in the state for policy change. Observing a need for patient advocacy and cannabis education, she started the nonprofit TRUCE, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education - a group of patients, caregivers, and supporters from all different political and religious affiliations advocating for a common cause.
Her passion for the topic took her to Washington D.C. where she has continued to raise awareness for patient access. For her advocacy work she received Americans for Safe Access, Courage award, in 2015 for her debut efforts. She was given The Liberty Cap from Libertas Institute for her advocacy work in 2016. In 2017, she was given the Civil Rights award by The Utah Libertarian Party for her efforts on cannabis. And in 2018, her organization won Affiliates of the Year from Americans for Safe Access for their efforts.
Christine was one of the chief sponsors of the medical cannabis initiative, Prop 2. She and her nonprofit stood in opposition of the replacement bill that undermined the people’s vote. She continues to focus on educating the community about cannabis and the laws surrounding it. Christine hopes to empower others to shake off their apathy and get involved in politics.
Presentation: “Plants As Solace For The Soul”
We evolved in nature, and we are intrinsically drawn to it. They say we are genetically ‘hardwired' to interact authentically in response to nature. Does our survival depend on it? As medicine maker, I have been taught to acknowledge my connection to all that is through my prayers and actions before ever offering my creations. Let’s talk about some simple, yet profound ways to consciously expand our relationships with ‘forbidden’ plants. Come hear my story & share yours as we delve into some restorative plant practices intended to soothe our souls as we navigate our way through these tumultuous times.
Jane Straight has had a passionate relationship with sacred plants for decades and has dared to engage in relationship with many ‘forbidden' species. She is the proprietress of a sweet ethnobotanical enterprise that ensures rare botanicals are disseminated worldwide. As a Grandmother now, she is often seen with a green snake magnifying glass and her 2 & 3 year old Granddaughters counting spots on ladybugs. She thrives on guiding others on their unique journeys towards plant consciousness, species interconnectedness, and respectful stewardship.
Presentation: "Investing in Intergenerational Wisdom”
"Elise Szabo (they/them/theirs or she/her/hers) is a Movement Building Fellow with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), working out of the Oakland, CA office and supporting young people organizing to end drug criminalization. Elise began their work in the world of drug policy reform in high school, after writing a research paper on the use of psychedelics in therapy. After their leadership with an SSDP chapter while studying Philosophy and engaging in various areas of student activism at Kent State University, Elise served on SSDP's student-led Board of Directors before joining staff. Largely inspired from mentors in the drug policy reform movement, as well as adrienne maree brown's Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism, Elise's primary areas of focus include youth advocacy and movement building, transformational justice and community-based conflict resolution, and drug harm reduction.