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Hollyhock Presenters

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Our presenters are curated for their quality, depth, integrity, and alignment with our educational purpose. Since 1982, a distinguished faculty of authors, educators, activists, artists, performers, and practitioners have shared their work at our Cortes Island campus and in Vancouver.

People smiling at Activate 2023 Hollyhock Leadership Institute

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson is a multifaceted social activist, public speaker, and touch specialist dedicated to identifying and interrupting the barriers between people. As a co-founder of both Holistic Resistance and Grief to Action, he is committed to holding space for the stories of Black people around issues like homophobia, transphobia, internalized racism, and chronic under-touching. Acknowledging the long-term effects of oppression, Aaron invites various methods of moving through these stories, such as communal listening, sound healing, meditation, and closeness to nature. Aaron’s work began with his own healing journey, recognizing that many Black men, including himself, have never experienced loving, thoughtful platonic touch. He now helps other Black men create holistic touch practices and care plans to bring them to a state of touch balance. He also seeks to promote accessible spaces of connection for Black and BIPOC folks to each other and the earth. As part of this mission, he has begun a land-based project in Northern California to establish a healing center that will promote permaculture, meditation, and singing to enhance the healing process for those neglected by mainstream society. Aaron’s tireless activism and dedication to healing have made him a vital force in creating a more just and compassionate world.