Tema Okun has spent over 30 years working with and for organizations, schools, and community-based institutions as a trainer, facilitator, teacher, and mentor focused on issues of racial justice and equity. She got her start at Grassroots Leadership with a strong team including James Williams, Cathy Howell, and Kamau Marcharia.
She also facilitates and supports leaders and organizations with colleagues at Teach.Equity.Now., housed at the Pauli Murray Center in Durham, NC.
For 12 years she worked with the late and beloved Kenneth Jones at ChangeWork and then for another decade with Michelle Johnson and many brilliant colleagues at DismantlingRacismWorks. Dr. Okun just completed 6 years of co-leading the Teaching for Equity Fellows Program at Duke University, which works with faculty seeking to develop stronger skills both teaching about race and racism and across lines of race, class, and gender. She also facilitates and supports leaders and organizations with colleagues at Teach.Equity.Now., housed at the Pauli Murray Center in Durham, NC. Tema was a member of the Educational Leadership faculty at National Louis University in Chicago and has taught undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level students in educational leadership and education. She is the author of the award-winning The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know (2010, IAP) and the widely used article White Supremacy Culture. She launched a website based on a revision and update of the article in May 2021: www.white supremacy culture.info. She publishes regularly on the pedagogy of racial and social justice. Tema is a member of the Bhumisphara Sangha under the leadership of Lama Rod Owens. She is an artist, a poet, and a writer. She lives in Carrboro NC where she is fortunate to reside among beloved community. Her current project is deepening her ability to love her neighbor as herself. She is finding the instruction easy and the follow through challenging, given how we live in a culture that is afraid to help us do either or both.