DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
BCIMS Commitment to Justice
Since its inception, BCIMS has been committed to sharing the dharma in a way that makes it accessible to as many people as possible. Offering the teachings in a dana framework has supported this aspiration by reducing the fixed cost of retreats and classes. In recent years we have also offered LGBTQIA+ retreats. Plans for retreats for Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Colour (BIPOC) are also in the works.
To help us move towards our goals of being more widely welcoming and accessible, BCIMS has created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fund to support activities that serve marginalized communities, primarily BIPOC and LGBTQIA+. The DEI fund will make it possible to offer free registration for BIPOC participants in online events and subsidize retreat registration for in-person events. In addition, this fund will allow us to provide more equitable support for BIPOC teachers and others offering retreats to marginalized communities: the weakness of the dana model is that newer teachers and those teaching marginalized communities have no way of knowing whether their work will be compensated fairly, and this fund will allow us to guarantee a reasonable minimum level of compensation.
Asian Heritage Acknowledgement
We would like to name and honour the lineage of the ancient teachings offered by BCIMS, and we offer our deep gratitude to the rich lineage of Theravadan Buddhist teachers whose wisdom continues to support our practice. These teachings originated in Asia with the Buddha’s teachings, specifically in Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. Our hearts are with the people of Burma, present day Myanmar, in their ongoing struggle to achieve peace and meaningful democratic liberation.
Resources for Racial Justice Work
BCIMS has developed a curriculum for studying racism and the concept of whiteness, with a special emphasis on the situation in Canada, using the WAIC UP curriculum as a starting place. You're welcome to use and distribute the materials, found here. Groups have been organized to work through the material together twice, and future groups will be announced in the newsletter.
It's helpful to use social media to continuously educate oneself about racial justice. Links to social justice resources through a dharma lens are also often shared on the BCIMS Facebook page. A primer on how best to use social media for this purpose is found here. Some people you might want to follow are
"Son of Baldwin" (Robert Jones Jr.)
Insight World Aid supports Buddhist organizations around the world in their social service activities.
In addition, here are some books and videos that some of our sangha members have found helpful in their efforts to deepen their understanding of race and racism.
Anti-Black Racism in Canada
Cole, Desmond. The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power.
The chapters in this book are each named for a month in the year 2017 and document instances of anti-black racism and anti-racist activism. Connections are made with indigenous struggles in Canada. As a journalist, Cole can tell a good story.
Desmond Cole hosts Maclean’s Live with a Panel of Black Canadian Writers. A 56-min. YouTube featuring Robyn Maynard, Esi Edugyan, Syrus Marcus Ware, Ian Williams. Held June 17, 2020.
Maynard, Robyn. Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present. Documents Canada’s racist history, for example, of decades of slavery, separate and unequal schooling in many provinces up through 1983, police violence and incarceration, surveillance of Black women, targeting of Black youth, racist child welfare policies, etc. See Maynard’s website for background info.
Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada. Edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, and Syrus Marcus Ware.
A series of essays that give an in-depth study of the inception, growth and continued resistance to anti-Black racism in Canada.
Definition of intersectionality explained by Kimberle Crenshaw, who coined the term. This 2 min. video relates it to education and is easy and quick to access.
Eddo-Lodge, Reni. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (book). For an edited excerpt from this 2017 book by a British author and journalist click here. More recently, she talks about understanding white privilege in this July 2020 Guardian Weekly article.
Saad, Layla F. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor. This 2020 book is a 4-week workbook, each of the 28 days focusing on a topic that helps white people unpack their unconscious attitudes and behaviours. For example, you are asked to journal about questions ranging from “what have you learned about your white privilege that makes you uncomfortable?” (week 1) to “what are you beginning to understand about how white centering affects BIPOC?” (week 3), and so on. You’ll understand more about tone policing, white exceptionalism, optical allyship and learn many other nuanced ways to critically analyze and talk about racism. Check out this 5-min. video to hear the author talk about her book and how it came about.
Menakem, Resmaa. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Heart and Bodies. Menakem is a therapist and healer; this book, written for both white and BIPOC people, centres racial trauma in the body. “White body supremacy” is the term he uses and since publishing this book has continued to develop ways of working with “white body supremacy trauma.” For more info, see his website. He also has been featured in various YouTube talks/interviews. Right now there’s a year-long study program for his book going on, and there may be future iterations offered through Rooted and Embodied.