Dustin Sharp - human rights, resilience and some truth about dying

Dustin Sharp led my graduate education in Peace and Justice Studies at the University of San Diego. From the day I walked into his classroom I was impressed. Not because he is a Harvard Law graduate or a seasoned human rights advocate specializing in the atrocities and reconciliation processes occurring in sub-saharan Africa. Or even because he is a prolific writer. He impresses me because despite all his credentials he is accessible and kind, even as he challenges perceptions - but mostly because he is outwardly concerned about the way we are living collectively.

At the end of my master's program when I was suddenly pummeled with a breast cancer diagnosis, Dustin sent me an email that will stay with me for good. I was of course receiving all kinds of emails at the time and most were the run of the mill, "please let me know if there is anything I can do" or "check out this or that cancer resource" or "you are so strong, you can beat it!"

Dustin's email was different.

He kept it simple. He offered his support according to my needs and told me that I possess something called "Fierce Grace." I'm not entirely sure if at the time I knew how well that described me as a woman, but no less the idea has stayed with me as I have made way through my journey. Interestly, it is also a Ram Das reference that I am only exploring now, more than 6 years later.

My conversation with Dustin for An Illness Threatening Life Podcast reminded me of all the reasons I admire him. But it has also expanded my perspectives in ways that I imagine only Dustin can. It was a long conversation over many hours in his academic office overlooking the beautiful courtyards of the USD campus. I've broken it up into digestible segments so that you have time to process his brilliance and ruminate on the concepts that we discuss. This is a very intelligent man, deeper than his career credentials could ever illuminate, and more thoughtful than any grad school lecture could possibly hold space for. I hope you enjoy these episodes as much as I enjoyed creating them from my time with Dustin.

There are a number of references to resources in our conversation for digging deeper, and they will be listed below as the episodes air.

Thanks for listening in y'all. May this series with Dustin Sharp expand your mind, make curious your heart, and encourage you to be impactful, no matter how big or small, in this complicated world we inhabit.

Catch you in the lines!