GBZC welcomes the creation of affinity groups, which allow people to connect around shared identities, experiences, and interests. As Ruth King explains in “Healing the Broken Body of Sangha,“ “We all need a place where we can be safe, curious, and unedited.” Affinity groups and affinity-focused programming help make GBZC a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just community.
Listing our affinity groups and affinity-focused programming here, under the “engage” tab of our website, is not meant to be separatist or othering; rather, it is a recognition of the unique ways affinity groups and affinity-focused programming can support our social justice values. We recognize, simultaneously, that these values should be integrated into all of our programming, and that affinity groups and affinity-focused programming offer a path to the Dharma equal to any other path GBZC offers. As Dogen says in Genjokoan – Actualizing Fundamental Reality, “Here is the place; here the Path unfolds.”
Current GBZC affinity groups include:
- the Persons of Color Monthly Sitting Group
- the LGBTQIA+ Zen Group
- Turning Toward (a group for White-identifying dharma practitioners)
Other groups that have been proposed for GBZC would focus on characteristics like ability and ableism, younger practitioners, substance use and recovery, or socioeconomic status. If you would be interested in helping to create any of these, or helping to create any regularly-meeting affinity group or one-time affinity-focused program, please contact Watering the Seeds (a justice-focused subcommittee of the Programming Working Group) at [email protected]. Together, as Ruth King writes, we can “touch a deeper truth about our belonging.”