Like many others in the US right now, we are taking a deep look at who we are and how we intersect with or are part of racial oppression. We thank all of the Sangha who wrote in to us after Adya’s talk on racial tension. There were many letters of gratitude for his talk and also letters that rightly pointed to the lack of diversity on our staff and at in-person programs. Not only do we deeply appreciate the truth telling and encouragement for us to look at this, we also see these realities. We have collected all of the recommendations for us to connect with Black Lives Matter, books on antiracism, and important videos of the history and current state of racism in America. We also have individually, and as a staff, been developing our own lists.
First, we would like to say we stand for racial equality and social justice. We are for finding actions that speak as loudly as words, perhaps even louder than words. And, we are for creating together a more inclusive Sangha experience for everyone.
Our first step in this journey is to listen, learn, and engage in connected conversations on racism. We have started a staff study group to delve more deeply into our own study of racism as it lives in us and affects others. Our study group time is a time of sharing our own learnings, feelings, and connections. Each staff member is choosing their path of study and we are keeping a list of resources to share with each other. We also have a shared space to post our thoughts and journaling as we strip away the veils of racism hiding in our race identities. Our time together is mixed with tears, truth, and silence. We are deeply committed and see this as part of our lives ongoing, no ending set in advance.
We have not yet come to what else to do as we look into how our Open Gate can be or feel more open to everyone. One of our guideposts is to not let our words and deeds get ahead of our learning.
We invite you to join us in your own inquiry about how racism affects you, lives in you, or hides in you. Here is the list of resources that we have gathered, in case it is helpful.
Adya, Mukti, and the Open Gate Sangha Staff