Saturday, April 30, 2022
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Since the dawn of human history, storytelling has been a powerful means of communication. Through traditional stories, oral histories, and personal anecdotes, we pass on our cultural heritage, impart wisdom, and instill positive values. Despite the technological advances of the 21st century, oral storytelling will always be vital in expressing our humanity, building bridges between cultures, races, religions, generations, and understanding who we are.
Join us for an inspiring evening of stories with renowned storytellers and educators Reverend Heng Sure, P.K. McCary, Ronnie Pepper, and Brian Conroy.
Bios of the Speakers:
Rev. Heng Sure is an American Buddhist monk, ordained under Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976. From 1977-1979, he and Heng Chau (Martin Verhoeven) did a three-steps-one-bow pilgrimage from South Pasadena to Ukiah, California, for two and half years covering a distance of 800 miles, seeking world peace. He serves as Managing Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and is actively involved in interfaith dialogues. He gives weekly lectures, oftentimes punctuated with music interludes, and leads ongoing translation projects of the Mahayana Buddhist texts.
Perri (P.K.) McCary is a Houston artist, educator, and social activist who works tirelessly to cultivate relationships across racial, gender, generational, and cultural aisles. P.K. is a founding member of URI, one of many individuals from diverse backgrounds and religions. She is the author of nine books, starting with her acclaimed Black Bible Chronicles series. Her current book, Hindsight2020?, was recently released this year. “Mama PK,” as she is affectionately called, is the co-founder of Think Peace International, a communications media network for peace activists. She is a world traveler and believes that when we practice to do better, we get better.
Ronnie Pepper, an avid storyteller and educator for 25 years, is an influential figure in his community, an Appalachian town of Hendersonville where he grew up during the era of the civil rights movement. Currently, he serves as the President of the Black History Research Committee, researching and recording oral histories from the elders in the Black community in Western North Carolina. Some of these stories have been published on the website of blackhistories.org. Pepper loves to hear stories as much as he loves to tell them. He tells stories from Africa, stories of local history, and stories of his own family. During the pandemic, he and his wife Roxanne have been hosting "Dessert With the Peppers," inviting folks from different communities to get together.
Brian Conroy is the founder of the Buddhist Storytelling Circle, a group of storytellers from the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery who perform at interfaith gatherings. For thirty-five years Brian taught theater and public speaking in the public schools in San Jose. He received his M.A. in Folklore from San Jose State University, where he taught storytelling for ten years. As a storyteller Brian has performed at festivals and conferences including the National Storytelling Festival, The Parliament for the World’s Religions, and The Buddhist Storytelling Festival. Brian first encountered Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976 and took refuge with the Master in 1994. He is the author of Stepping Stones, a collection of Buddhist parables; Lotus Petals, a collection of Buddhist wisdom tales; and Prince Dighavu, a children’s picture book about compassion.