Dr. Jaiya John was born into foster care in New Mexico, and is an internationally recognized freedom worker, author, speaker, poet, and youth mentor. Jaiya is the founder of Soul Water Rising, a global rehumanizing mission that has donated thousands of Jaiya's books in support of social healing, and offers scholarships to displaced and vulnerable youth. Jaiya writes, narrates, and produces the I Will Read for You podcast, and is the founder of Freedom Project, a global initiative reviving traditional gathering and storytelling practices to fertilize social healing and liberation. He is a former professor of social psychology at Howard University, has authored numerous books, and has spoken to over a million people worldwide and audiences as large as several thousand, including national and international conferences, schools, Indigenous reservations and communities, prisons and detention centers, shelters, and colleges. Jaiya is a National Science Foundation fellow, and holds doctorate and master's degrees in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on intergroup relations and identity development. As an undergraduate, he attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he studied Tibetan Holistic Medicine through independent research with Tibetan doctors.