Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter
The Seeing Through Racism (STR) group supports the Black Lives Matter movement and countless others who relentlessly protest racial injustice and raise awareness of the suffering caused by structural racism. Structural racism is racism that is embedded in our country’s social, political, criminal justice, land ownership, and economic structures—and in our individual and collective psyches. We are inspired by the recent groundswell of anti-racist activism and, thanks to Zoom, the ability of out-of-town Sangha members to participate in STR.
We also support the work of the Zen Center’s leadership in inviting Sangha member and organizational consultant, Dr. Sonia James-Wilson, to facilitate the development of an anti-racist action plan at the institutional level. We recognize that our Zen center has a more than 50-year history of being a nearly 100% white organization, and that not everyone in our Sangha is fully aware of how pervasive the culture of whiteness is, which includes white privilege (the unacknowledged advantages of being white). We need to own up to the storehouse consciousness of white conditioning that exists within our Zen center, within American Zen Buddhism, and throughout our country.
Working together, we have the potential to do better, and we hope that you will join us.
In recent weeks, we’ve created new ways for the Sangha to come together, to educate ourselves, and to become more skillfully supportive and responsible:
- Monthly STR meetings on Zoom, which all are welcome to attend.
- A series of Zoom discussions on Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out.
We’re also in the process of creating an anti-racist resource webpage with books, films, and other media recommended by fellow Sangha members. In addition, we’re exploring a Term Intensive approach for Sangha members to engage in individual anti-racist education and action, while benefiting from the mutual support and inspiration of others.
Stay tuned to these developments, and let us know if you have any suggestions.
Please contact James Thompson (585-703-7739), Martha Howden (585-733-2382), or Dené Redding (firstname.lastname@example.org).