As a cultural worker, activist, facilitator, and educator, Wendi O’Neal works to connect social and economic justice groups’ mission, vision and values with how everyday work gets done. She uses spiritually grounded practices, visual art, story circles and song sharing as tools for growing inspiration and building democratic process.
Born and raised in New Orleans, she has worked in local, regional and national organizations; but her heart’s work is rooted in the Deep South of the US, especially the kind of organizing that happens around kitchen tables and good food. She is a dancer, “markers & scrap paper” visual artist, freedom-song-singer and teacher.
One of her favorite teachers is her father, John O’Neal, co-founder of the Free Southern Theater, a Radical Black Theater project that grew out of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the 1960’s. In 1991, she helped found one of the first documented out lesbian and bisexual women’s alliances at a Historically Black College, Spelman, in Atlanta, GA – which continues to exist as the group, Afrekete, today.
Some groups Wendi has worked with include: Amnesty International, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, Southerners on New Ground, The Highlander Research and Education Center, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and Junebug Productions’ Free Southern Theater Institute