I hope this finds you as well as can be expected during such challenging times – the COVID pandemic, political divisiveness, economic despair, and most especially as of late, police brutality and racial injustice.
Last week I attended a community meeting on racial justice led by Rev. Dr. Michael Christie, where he asked us each to visualize our son lying face down on the floor in our own home, with one police officer leaning on his back and two others holding down his legs, all the while cruelly asking our son to get up.
So, I did what Rev. Dr. Michael Christie asked of us: I visualized my 18–year–old, 6’5″ lanky, sweet–natured son, Ari, forced to lie face down by the police on our kitchen floor. As he leads us through the meditation, Dr. Christie asked us to pay attention to how we feel. I can feel my chest becoming tight, my breath becoming shallow, and my heart breaking wide open.
Dr. Christie reminds us that living in this kind of fear is the daily reality for people like him living in black communities. I cannot imagine what it must be to live in constant fear. What if the police come into my home? What if we get stopped while driving by the police? Can we go bird watching and not be accused of threatening others? Can we go for a jog and safely return home?
I understand that as a person of white privilege, these painful feelings are not my daily reality and can easily be forgotten or pushed away. And yet, I know it is my responsibility to stand up to racism and do something. What can I do? How can I make a difference?
Over the last several days, I have been thinking about what I can do in order to make a difference. I will hold these feelings – what it would feel like to imagine police offices entering my home, holding down my son face down while at the same time asking him to get up – in my heart and in my body, even after this particular incident falls out of the limelight, so that I can continue to stand up for what matters, to stand against hate, and to stand for respect. This is the least I can do, considering it is something that my black friends have had to do for their whole lives, and will have to continue to do until real change happens.
I am making the following commitments:
- Stand up to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, discrimination against our LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities, religious intolerance, and bigotry of any kind, as well as to embody a willingness to embrace and tolerate the discomfort that comes with understanding the social reality that exists for all people.
- Use my daily meditation practice to show up with a steady, empathetic, and peaceful heart and respond to truth with clarity, compassion, and wise action.
- Continue to lead community meditation sessions that are welcoming to everyone and focus on healing, well-being and standing up to social injustice.
- Nancy Foster and I will be hosting a zoom Mindful Movement, Breathwork, and Meditation Workshop from 10-11:15a on June 27th.
- The fee is $20 and the entire payment will go to a scholarship fund for young black adults to be trained as mindfulness teachers at EMI, an organization specializing in supporting individuals in at-risk situations and communities.
- CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.
- Continually ask myself: How can I be of service? What can I do today? Tomorrow? This year? Next?
- Participate in racial justice meetings and open conversations with colleagues and friends
- Attend the Black Lives matters solidarity vigil on June 13th. Click here to join me.
- Continue to try and understand what underserved communities are struggling with and serve by volunteering my coaching and mindfulness services.
- Educate myself about racial injustice by
- Reading books (click here to read Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams).
- Watching documentaries (click here for watch Ten Documentaries about Race Instead of Asking a Person of Colour to Explain Things to You).
- Listening to podcasts (click here to hear An Uncomfortable But Meaningful Conversation About Race with Lama Rod Owen and Dan Harris)
- Speak up on social media and call out racist comments.
Let’s continue the conversation and find ways to take action against racial injustice. Please let me know what else I can do and what you are doing to stand up to racism.
Wishing you, your families, friends, and colleagues health, strength, and moments of joy during this challenging time.