Beyond the BubbleAlabama

Lunch & Learn on Mindfulness with Rep. Jeremy Gray (AL)

November 16, 2022

On November 2nd, Representative Jeremy Gray kicked off Millennial Action Project’s new Lunch and Learn series by leading a discussion on how he uses mindfulness as a legislator. The Lunch and Learn series are virtual events hosted “by legislators for legislators.” In the webinar, he shared insights from his experience passing legislation to lift a 28-year ban on yoga in Alabama’s K-12 schools. He also shared his experience transitioning from a professional athlete to a public servant.

“After coming back home in 2015 after playing football in Canada, I was going through some barriers. I wanted to actually be a part of the solution for my community… That prompted me to run for an elected position, so no one else would have these barriers… I wanted to be the person that could open the door for young people to run for office in my area.”

Rep. Gray uses his elected position to advocate for mental health, among other issues. During the 2022 legislative session, he successfully passed a major criminal justice reform bill which grants a 180-day grace period on fines and fees for inmates transitioning into society. When talking about the challenges that he has faced in his career as a legislator he said

“Everyone thinks you are too young… But I have found that once you prove yourself and get things passed, it’s less of a barrier… Another barrier is that I’m a Democrat in a superminority, so it’s hard to pass things in general. At that point, it doesn’t matter about age, we just don’t have the numbers in Alabama. I really had to use the tools that I learned in sports to figure out how to find commonality, how to bring about camaraderie and cohesive partnerships with my peers across the aisle.”

It’s clear that Rep. Gray’s own mindfulness practices prepared him for the marathon of being a young elected official. Rep. Gray not only puts in the long hours at work, but represents a district that is split into two different time zones. When asked about why he prioritizes mindfulness, he answered:

“When we are able to have a calm temperament, we are able to make great decisions. We react less… We solve problems. We don’t just jump to conclusions. This helped me in football. This helps me now. Yoga helped me bring down my temperament.”

The workshop also included a guided reflection designed to introduce new mindfulness techniques.For more information about Rep. Gray or the mindfulness workshop, you can watch the full video here:

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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