Gretchen N. Rohr’s first trainings in meditation were in 1994 while working alongside formerly imprisoned activists who developed techniques to free themselves from conditions of solitary confinement. These teachings in interdependent awakening supported her professional life restoring justice within communities in need of healing; they ultimately led to her life of public service.
After litigating constitutional and civil rights cases on behalf of institutionalized women and men throughout the South, Gretchen moved to Washington, D.C. and founded the Jail and Federal Prison Advocacy Project, a wholistic legal initiative of the city’s disability rights advocacy agency. Gretchen has lectured extensively across the country on effective workforce and leadership development, reconciliation and restorative practices for building safe communities, and trauma-informed police, correctional and judicial crisis responses.
As a volunteer with IMCW’s jail meditation outreach, entitled "Insight on the Inside", Gretchen helped launch the first expansion of meditation trainings within the D.C. Jail. In 2013, she mobilized the dharma community to create accessible spaces in D.C. where meditation practitioners can take refuge after exiting jail and prison and train to become the next generation of teachers. Her work, in partnership with leaders in the reentry community, has culminated in a meditation and reconciliation series integrated within DC neighborhoods experiencing a spike in gun violence--Justice in Balance.
In her free time, she supports integration of contemplative practices while teaching at Georgetown University Law Center, hosting educational exchanges for local restorative justice practitioners and helping facilitate Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s People of Color (POC) and serving on the IMCW Equity Advisory.
Gretchen is one of 120 Buddhist leaders nationwide called to participate in the first Whitehouse Buddhist Leadership Conference in 2015. She is currently completing her final year in the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leadership training program and continues to study in the Theravadan tradition under the direction of her teacher, Gina Sharpe.