We are all grieving once again for the trauma and loss experienced by our brothers and sisters of color in our unjust world. While these moments might bring the injustice into focus, we recognize that systemic racism is alive in every moment. We stand in solidarity with front-line activists doing the difficult work of advocating for social justice and looking to bring structural change in their own communities. Together, we demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the thousands of black lives lost each year due to the horrific systems of oppression that are prevalent in our society today.
At iBme, we believe that justice and equity are at the core of mindfulness and compassion. Our teens first join our programs to deepen their self-awareness and interdependence and later activate that learning to be tangibly applied to our world. In our ten year history, we have learned a lot about what it means for an organization that is primarily staffed by people from the dominant identity group (white, able-bodied, middle-income) to engage in equity work, and we continue to figure out how to navigate this process.
We are calling on you to join us in supporting and uplifting Black-led organizations, movements, and organizers that are demanding an end to state-sponsored violence and wider institutional change. Our community must stand united against racism and injustice. We must not be silent.
We encourage you to act. What this means will look different for everyone. However, there are many reasons why you may opt not to rally, and there are other ways to act. For reference, please view 26 Ways to Be In the Struggle Beyond the Streets. Amongst other strategies, the document suggests things like: offering to serve as an emergency contact for folks attending marches, amplifying the protests, and organizing Know Your Rights trainings.
Here are some ways to stand in solidarity:
1. Support local Black-led organizations by donating and getting involved for the long term. Below are some orgs that are on the frontlines right now.
- @BlackVisions and @ReclaimtheBlock are leading and supporting organizing in Minneapolis, as people are on the streets demanding justice for George Floyd. (https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/ and https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/)
- The Just Georgia Coalition is fighting for justice for Ahmaud Arbery. (https://www.just-georgia.org/)
- The Louisville Community Bail Fund is bailing out protesters that are demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. (https://actionnetwork.org/f…/louisville-community-bail-fund/)
- The Tallahassee Community Action Committee is organizing to demand justice for Tony McDade. (@tallycac)
- Find your local bail fund here at the National Bail Fund Network. (https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory)
2. Get involved with the Movement for Black Lives to support and uplift national demands to #defundpolice and defend Black life. (https://m4bl.org/)
3. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and protesting is a personal decision. This is a great resource on 26 ways to be in the struggle beyond the streets. https://issuu.com/nlc.sf.2014/docs/beyondthestreets_final
Below are measures we will take this year at iBme to stand in solidarity with this social movement and to ensure our programs are rooted in justice and equity:
We will offer three courses related to equity during our Contemplative Summer School: Meditation as a Support for White Anti-Racist Action; Celebration and Restoration of Communities of Color: Intergenerational Wellness and Sustainability; and Embodied Sacred Activism: Mindfulness and Social Justice.
Our People of Color affinity programming (Teens of Color retreats) will expand this summer to include a month long online multi-generational space for teens, young adults, and adults of color.
We will continue our retreat staff equity training this summer with nearly one hundred teachers and mentors deepening their lens of equity and interdependence within their role.
We will continue to send required justice-based readings and video lists to staff and teachers to reflect upon before retreat.
Our office staff of 6 will complete part 3 of our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) deep dive with our Equity consultant.
Out of this work, we will identify at least 5 areas of improvement as it relates to DEI and establish a plan and commitment to address these concerns going into 2021.
We will launch our first ever Equity and Interdependence page which will highlight all areas of our organizational structure and the measures we have taken to pursue equitable standards. Some examples of these areas include our collaborative leadership model, office and retreat staff trainings, affinity spaces, and information related to accessibility of our programs.
Our organization will prioritize recruiting and hiring more diverse consultants and retreat staff teams in order to do the work of redistribution of resources and retain diverse participants and staff overtime.
We will evaluate our policies around resource flow and compensation of staff and retreat staff.
We will improve teen recruitment for our retreats by building partnerships with local communities and organizations. Through these partnerships we will remove barriers to registration beyond just financial resources.