White Awake is facilitated by its founders: two feminists, lesbians with a century of leftist activism between them.
Lois Helmbold, Ph.D, grew up in rural Pennsylvania, granddaughter of coal miners, daughter of a fundamentalist, evangelical country preacher. Teaching in a small Black college in rural Mississippi in the late 1960s changed her life. She is a retired women’s studies professor, an American historian, a writer, martial artist, and textile artist.
Rochelle Towers, M.S.W, grew up in NYC in a lower-middle-class Jewish family and arrived in Oakland in 1970. She became active against the Viet Nam War, in the campaign to Free Angela Davis, in feminist, gay and lesbian movements, union and Central America solidarity work. She taught community organizing at SFSU and is a seasoned facilitator, trainer, coach and counselor.