Self Proclaimed Black Hippie Creates
Radical Experience combining activism and yoga.
Meet Reggie Hubbard
Radical Resistor, Wellness Warrior, Black Hippie, Transformative Leader
These are just a few of the descriptions of Reggie Hubbard – Congressional Director, and Political Strategist for MoveOn.org. More importantly, for my purpose, he is a yoga teacher, and just this week launched Active Peace Yoga. I was first introduced to Reggie Hubbard just over a year ago by a dear mutual friend who knew we had some things in common. We share a love of progressive politics and the practice of yoga and meditation. In the year-plus since, we’ve crossed paths several times, sometimes accidentally, others intentionally as I sought out to see what he was like as a yoga teacher. But during this pandemic, I’ve “seen” Reggie more than any other friend as he has expanded his teaching over zoom. For the past four months, I’ve made a point to take a few of his live classes each week, and I can honestly say I would not be able to survive this time without him.
COVID-19 was just beginning to unleash itself across this country, and I craved time and space to calm my fears and anxieties. “Breathe in the future. Exhale the past”. This meditative mantra was the beginning of my first zoom class in Active Peace Yoga. It had me hooked on day one. It spoke to exactly what I needed and when I needed it. The following week the mantra varied and was “Breath in the positive. Exhale the negative”. It, too, touched my soul. These were opening meditations in Reggie Hubbards Active Peace Yoga. It was the beginning of something excellent in a, particularly awful time. This was the community I needed before I knew exactly how much I needed a new community. It was precisely the right place to be, and I haven’t left in the now four months since it started.
Why am I writing about meditation and yoga on a site dedicated to progressive politics? For a few reasons. First, this is the story of Reggie Hubbard. The self-described Black Hippie is one of the most inspirational modern-day activists in our movement and has a long history with the Democratic party and the progressive movement.
Second, I believe it is critical to infuse self-care into our lives – especially now. Be that yoga, peloton, running, or whatever movement takes you away from your digital devices for a few hours a week. Campaign and advocacy staff are some of the hardest workers, often trying to prove themselves by working longer hours and not taking weekends or any days off as if we are judged by the number of our work hours rather than the quality.
Yoga has been a regular part of my life for almost 20 years. I’ve never been able to slow down nor practice truly still mindfulness, but I find yoga to be a moving meditation that helps my brain take an awake break from working to stretching the mind and body. Reggie’s yoga classes do both.
Reggie launched online classes in early March when COVID was spreading across the world, and the global implications of the pandemic were just beginning to be exposed. He brought his Active Peace yoga practice to his mixed community of activists, advocates, elected officials, fellow yogis, and other friends he has picked up along in this thing called life. I used that line quite deliberately as Reggie’s practice in yoga and activism infuse his devotion to Prince. Even his logo and the new website is in part, a tribute to Prince. It has been such a joy to watch Reggie’s wings grow wider, and he has expanded his reach over the past few months. His classes went from a few friends on zoom to several Congress members, the staff at the DNC, DCCC, and many more in our movement.
Many in our political world know Reggie because of his high profile leadership with MoveOn. Over the past year, Reggie led MoveOn’s campaigns for the Impeachment of Donald Trump and continues to be an important thought leader in our progressive community on resistance, mobilizing, organizing, and communications. Still, it is Reggie’s shared practice and teaching that I’ve been more focused on this year. His intentional building of new shared space and community during a time we are all social distancing has been a real blessing to those lucky enough to be part of it. It has been an extraordinary pleasure to watch his practice grow during this awkward time when we cannot be together.
Reggie got his start in 2004 after a period roaming the world for school and work. He was in Brazil when George Bush started the Iraq war, and he felt a calling to come back and fight him. He found his way onto the Kerry campaign in the primary and, through the force of nature, made his way from the mailroom to managing the travel staff for the VP nominee.
He worked a campaign in Florida in 2006, worked at the convention in 2008, moved to Europe in 2009 for graduate school, and has been back stateside more or less since 2011.
Fast forward a few years – he joined Bernie’s campaign on the advance team. He went on to be a lead advance director managing many huge Bernie events, including his last official campaign event, when he announced his concession. Soon after that, he met some of the MoveOn leadership at an event. After the 2016 election, he joined their team and has worked with them ever since.
Those who do advance know you train to stay out of the pictures, so it took some time for Reggie to find comfort on the other side of the camera. This past year especially has been one where Reggie stepped in front of the camera and used his organizing skills to lead us all into a peaceful but active life – both through yoga and politics. Over this past year with impeachment and teaching, he has forgone anonymity and changed his focus – both in his activism and yoga, becoming a true thought leader, not just practitioner – precisely the kind we need at this moment.
His drive for social justice is deeply rooted in his life experiences as a Black man – who has experienced systemic racism his whole life. He is long accustomed to pushing back against it and all those who might expect lesser things. As one of the Progressive Movement’s most talented Black activists, his voice is in more demand on multiple fronts. The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, sparked the global uprisings against police brutality and systemic racism and put even more demands on Reggie thrusting him further into the media spotlight. The events motivated his recently published opinion piece in The Hill called “I am a black progressive political activist; This is my message for Congress, white allies and the movement.” Reggie’s commitment and mission are to be brilliant and to engage and motivate others to be our best selves. Reggies’ live zoom classes infuse a recap of the week’s politics and current political climate with guided meditation and Hatha yogic practice. He mixes it up and occasionally offers special themed classes – in homage to his idol Prince or other great musically focused courses. They always seem perfect for the moment. Classes are open to all who register in advance with a donation-based fee.
“Breathe in gratitude and exhale joy.” Reggie’s mantra from this Friday’s class opened up my heart the moment it was spoken. 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. The next hundred days till the election will be exhausting mentally and physically, but I know I’ll make it through it and beyond because of Reggie’s classes and the Active Peace Yoga community that I’m now privileged to be part of no. Highly recommend his courses to anyone seeking regular practice, activism, and wellness community, dedicated to social justice, but focused on moving meditation and active peace today. They are perfect for beginners and welcoming to all levels.
This past week Reggie launched the Active Peace website. You can now find more about Reggie’s and sign up for his zoom yoga classes online at Active Peace. Please consider taking a class this week: You can find the schedule for live zoom class here. Also, you can buy some fun merch to go with it here on his site.
I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t benefit from these practices. It is an excellent want to take a break, convene with some like-minded people, and practice self-care. I hope you will join me in one of Reggie’s upcoming classes and join the Active Peace Community. I promise you won’t regret it!
Also – if you want a look at Reggie’s great political work- check out this video program with him and Stacy Abrams, Elizabeth Warren talking about winning in November.
Part of GAIN POWER’s mission is to highlight powerful stories of elected leaders, operatives, and activists working to GAIN POWER. We want to share their powerful journeys to an impactful life. If you have idea for stories we should tell – or want to share one yourself let us know.