Table Talk, a series created by and for people of color, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented communities, is an honest, lively, and unscripted conversation among health professionals, spiritual and faith-based leaders, artists, and other creative individuals to address this central question: What does it mean to live and die well in our respective communities?
In this Table Talk, Soren Glassing and Atekpatzin Young (Genízaro Apache) reflect on the ways in which funerals, memorials, and other end-of-life customs provide solace. For LGBTQ2S+ people who have inherited faith traditions, how do we navigate taboos that surround dying and death? And for those who have rejected religious affiliations, what are the possibilities for ceremonies at the end of life? How might we draw on the arts to reinvent ritual to honor and remember our loved ones?
Soren Glassing is a former Zen Buddhist monk, and Staff Chaplain at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. He is the head chaplain on the Palliative Care team and also works on the psychiatric unit. He has been practicing Zen since 1985 both in America (at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji) and in Japan (at Shogenji, Gifu-Ken) and was the head monk and co-director of the Zen Studies Society in New York City. He began training as a chaplain in 2008 with The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and completed his training as a resident chaplain at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2012. Soren leads ongoing weekly meditation, spirituality, and various support groups throughout the hospital. He teaches spirituality in the healthcare setting to new medical students, mentors residents and fellows, and teaches clinicians ways to reduce stress and burnout on the job. For the past several years Soren has presented several 90 minute workshops and Personal Development Intensives at the Association for Professional Chaplain annual convention, and has taught webinars on Buddhism and the contemplative arts. He lives in New York city.
Atekpatzin Young (Genízaro Apache) is a consultant, writer, artist, and musician. He has worked in radio, television and theatre. As a consultant, Mr. Young has provided program design, evaluation and training locally and nationally for 35 years. He has worked as a health educator, prevention specialist, psychotherapist, mediator and traditional healer serving diverse populations. Mr. Young has had the distinguished honor of presenting workshops and trainings at local, national and international conferences. He has worked as a consultant to the Office of Minority Health, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Disease Control, National American Red Cross, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Denver Public Health. He is the founder of the National Two Spirit Society with chapters across the U.S. and Canada. He is the founder of Only One, Inc. a not-for-profit dedicated to addressing health disparity issues in Indigenous communities. He is also the founder of the Calmecaztlán, a school specializing in Indigenous traditional medicine. Mr. Young has taught courses at Naropa University and been a guest lecturer at the University of Colorado, University of Washington, Metro State College, Colorado State University and Denver University. Mr. Young is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship award, a three-time recipient of the White Rose Scholarship Award and the Alexander Foundation Award. He also received the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Leadership Award and the Cesar Chavez Leadership Award for his contributions to the community.
About Table Talk
We recognize that marginalized communities and cultures -- Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian American, Disabled, LGBTQ+, etc. -- have their own unique perspectives and shared truths. All of these groups face tremendous challenges in dealing with serious illness, dying, grief, discrimination. And there is a shared need for platforms to talk about these issues freely in order to connect, learn, heal, remember, and take action.
While individual Table Talks are developed by and for specific communities, we recognize that often these groupings are permeable. Many of us describe more than one group as “home,” and many of us have experienced oppression based on multiple aspects of our intersecting identities: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and more.
Table Talk topics include:
Values, Wishes & Plans
Palliative & Comfort Care
Ceremonies & Rituals
Reimagine invites people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen and learn at Table Talk. Ultimately we are creating space rooted in the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in order for everyone to thrive.
Table Talk is made possible with support from the Fetzer Institute and the John and Wauna Harman Foundation.