Aljosie Aldrich Harding and Host Serena Bian

What Does Love Have To Do With It? Bringing Mystery to Peacebuilding (part 2)

The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all
Die!   —Hafiz

Crisis, war, injustice, and violence have a certain logic—and social change processes working to address these challenges carry a similar, reactionary logic. How can love help us to step out of the perceived reality of “what is possible” in building peace during conflict? In this second conversation in our peacemaking series, we listen for what Love has to say—creator and divine love, romantic love, the love that cries out for justice, familial love, love for community, love that is disciplined, love that is courageous. Aljosie is an elder whose lifelong social justice and peacebuilding work is rooted in a profound relationship with Love. We hear about her spiritual biography, her work as an elder who accompanies young activists in finding their wholeness, and rich, beautiful stories of her life and love with the late Vincent Harding. You can read a stunning piece about their love here. 

In this series, join Host Serena Bian in speaking with three people who bear witness to the best and worst of humanity, holding a courageous moral imagination. Working and witnessing the front lines of injustice, war, climate change, these peacebuilders, mystics, storytellers hold space for the miraculous to emerge, refusing to be bound by a perceived reality of “what is possible.” Find the first conversation in this series with Deepa Patel (recordings posted HERE or find them on our media sites: YouTube, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.)

Aljosie Aldrich Harding

Reared in segregated North Carolina, Aljosie began learning, teaching, and building social justice skills along with organizing in the 1960s as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lome, Togo, West Africa. She has been a servant-leader at the Institute of the Black World (Atlanta), a think tank and advocacy organization, and the Learning House (Atlanta) an independent Afrocentric freedom school. She has worked in community organizing in several southern and northern cities and in empowerment building with women’s circles, organizations, and colleges. With her co-worker, partner, and late husband, Vincent Harding, she built intergenerational relationships with social justice and peace organizations across the United States and abroad. Her organizational links have included the Bruderhof, Soka Gakkai International, Young Adult Quakers, the Dorothy Cotton Institute, the Walter Rodney Symposium and Foundation, Tewa Women United, Kid Cultivators, and the Yale-National University of Singapore. As a spiritual guide (director) she shares healing justice practices in all her organizational work.


Serena Bian

Serena is pursuing a life that remains attentive to the tenderness of a snail’s soft body and reverent to the miracle of its spiraled shell. Working with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Serena serves as a Special Advisor and brings a spiritual and systemic understanding to the public health crisis of loneliness and isolation. As a chaplain-in-training, Serena is pursuing questions of how we chaplain the end of extractive systems that isolate communities from themselves and one another. She is involved with multi-generational, multi-spiritual communities like the Nuns and Nones, devoted to courage, peacebuilding, and love. She participates on the Board of Commonweal and CoGenerate.