Rita Shimmin is co-founder of the UNtraining and a teacher of multi-dimensional consciousness. Her work, called Racism, Diversity and Risk of the Self, is the source and inspiration for the UNtraining. She continues to support the process of its development and acts as on-going mentor to leaders in the UNtraining. Rita leads the People of Color groups.
Rita has been a teacher, trainer and coach for more than 40 years. She has worked within educational institutions, at all levels -- with kindergarteners and university management teams -- and with business entities, including community-based non-profits and national investment firms. She has co-directed the Bay Area Black Women's Health Project and served as Interim Executive Director for Lyon-Martin Women's Health Services in San Francisco.
Rita's work is fundamentally about people. She has coached individuals, couples, families, line staff, managers and senior executives. She has work-shopped and lectured groups of 200, small groups, groups that were all white, all people of color, groups of mixed race, ethnicities, and class backgrounds; groups of all ages and all sexual orientations. She has worked with people who have the responsibility to hold society together and those who are driven to deconstruct it; with happy people and depressed people, people identified as crazy and people identified as normal.
Melvin Escobar is a cisgender queer El Salvadoran man, dhamma teacher, licensed psychotherapist and yoga instructor, and one of the original members of the POC UNtraining. Born in Los Angeles, Melvin got his start in social justice and coalition building in the mid 1990’s working in the areas of immigration and health care advocacy. He’s a Core Teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center and his writing has been featured in Lion’s Roar magazine. He continues daily to learn the revolutionary potential of body-centered contemplative practices to create personal and social healing.