A nationally respected social justice educator, Victor has conducted seminars, workshops, keynote speeches, and “train the trainer” programs across the United States, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Germany. He is best known for his inspiring leadership role in The Color of Fear, an unusually powerful video about racism, which received the Golden Apple Award for “Best Social Studies Documentary” of 1995.
Lewis has also served as Chaplain/Spiritual Director at the Starr King School for the Ministry (Unitarian Universalist), is a former member of the Leadership Council of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), and has served as Director of Adult Education at the Oakland Men’s Project (OMP). He is a past member of the board of A Safe Place, a battered women’s shelter program and former Co-Chair of the Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute. An activist with deep environmental concern, Lewis is a founding board member of the Urban Habitat Program, and a former board member of Urban Ecology, Inc.
He is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master (NLP) Practitioner, an NLP Health Practitioner, an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Advanced Practitioner, an AAMET-certified EFT Trainer, a certified NLP hypnotherapist and a resilient and thriving trauma survivor.
Victor Lewis is one of those unassuming folks that you might run into at the bank or at a coffee shop and not think twice about it. He’s got good, even energy and a kindliness about him, so much so you can almost imagine him placing a hand on your shoulder and offering heartfelt advice, which works out well because he’s deep in the healing business.
From the age of six Victor’s been intrigued by the spiritual world–not the one shaped by our ideas, religions, moral doctrines and such, but by the one that can’t ever be fully grasped as much as it can be appreciated, given in to–felt. His curiosities about the mysteries of life, which took root when he was a child, put him in the way of learning about true healing and justice and he’s never stepped off that path.
He says, “My conscious obsessions and life direction, from at least age six or seven, has been around social justice, healing, and spirituality. And I think spirituality is where social justice and healing can overlap.” These days Victor calls himself a “Holy Ghost Buddhist” because of his embrace of Buddhist philosophy and his spiritual Baptist roots.
For those of you who don’t know, Victor was in the 1994 classic multicultural film, the Color of Fear directed by Lee Mun Wah, a documentary that explored the inner lives of 8 men from different ethnic backgrounds, 2 Black, 2 White, 2 Asian, and 2 Latino. The film shows how race has impacted their worlds and how they impact one another’s worlds both in the film and on the whole.
Since then Victor’s done many, many things some of which have to do with race (leading conferences, workshops, and courses all over the country) and a lot of which have to do with EFT and his work as an EFT practitioner, but most of which have to do with helping others see–social justice folks in particular–that they are bigger and more fearless than they can believe.
Victor encourages the social justice folks that he works with to release the reactive mind. In this way activists can learn to do their work from a place that’s not about beating down the competition but that is about convincing the competition that there’s something fundamentally flawed about the system we have ALL bought into. In his view, “success in social justice work should lead to happiness and health, otherwise even [social justice work] is just oppression.”
Based on Victor’s philosophy, “We are all always influencing one another much in the same way as sub-elements in a body. We are radically interdependent creatures, who have yet to figure out what it means to be human beings.” Our push toward separating ourselves, he says, is not something we can afford to do, and his own contribution toward unity is through his work with EFT. He says that in order for us to save the planet, save the environment, and save ourselves, we’re going to need to recognize our oneness, and use our “whole brain wisdom or [what we do] will always be worse.”
A couple of the social justice folks that Victor has worked with (he began his work in EFT deciding to bring this work to social justice folks) have reflected this idea of oneness in their work.
One woman, who was doing anti-racist work for white activists in California–a region of the country where she admitted she could do the work, feel effective, and more importantly appear effective–decided that that wasn’t enough, that the best thing for her to do was to step into the fire. Or to put it another way, she decided to go where she could have the biggest affect on people (which was not something she was considering prior to her work with Victor). She moved to Alabama to work her anti-racist program there. Her work became about something far bigger than her ideas about herself.
Victor’s own healing experience through EFT work was brought about after having studied in a one-hour workshop. His search for the mystery of life, for spiritual answers, for the truth stemmed from the tragic early passing of his older sister, a story which he recounts on his Web site. After trying many other healing modalities, he began using EFT to “tap out” the trauma. After 90 minutes, the experience that had held back the energy of his life for 45 years was gone. This was an experience that he recounted to me as being extraordinarily profound and one which allowed him to have deep compassion for everyone who was involved in the incident, himself included.
“I often tell people this story with them actually looking at me, because I want them to be able to calibrate that the trauma is actually gone. I often have people say, ‘Oh I understand that this is something that you might never get over.’” But it’s very clear he has. One could say he’s transcended the entire event.
But that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? To be bigger than who we think we are.
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