Racial & Social Justice Initiative

Join us in action!
 

We commit ourselves to actively engaging and fully actualizing our bodhisattva vows in the relative world. ♦ We commit ourselves to doing this fearlessly—by opening our hearts to suffering and our eyes to oppression, marginalization, and injustice. ♦ We commit ourselves to doing this inclusively— by embodying the ideals of mutuality, interdependence, and democratic process. ♦ And we commit ourselves to doing this humbly—by acknowledging the reality of not-knowing, even as we act in urgent service to all beings.

You're invited to join! How to get involved... 

CURRENT & UPCOMING EVENTS

 
♦ Follow up to the book club on"So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
Co-Sponsors: Josh Bartok, Rebecca Behizadeh
Date: Sunday, May 20, 2018 from 6:45 - 8:45pm
Location: Greater Boston Zen Center (288 Nortfolk St)
Description: Those who attended the "So You Want to Talk About Race" book club by Ijeoma Oluo expressed a desire to keep meeting.  At this event, we will work out together how to move forward in this urgent and important work.
RSVP to Rebecca Behizadeh, [email protected]
 
♦ The Art of Public Narrative with Abel Cano
Sponsored by: The Racial & Social Justice Working Group
Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018 from 7-9pm
Location: Greater Boston Zen Center (288 Nortfolk St)
Description: Ever want to invite people to join you in something - an event, an initiative, concern about an urgent issue - but not know how? Please join the Racial & Social Justice Working group as we welcome Abel Cano, founder and Executive Director of Arc of Change, to lead us in an introduction to "public narrative." Abel will show us how storytelling can build community and motivate us to action. Come to meet Abel, learn a little bit about this skill, and spend some quality time with the sangha.
RSVP at this link
Questions: Rebecca Behizadeh, [email protected]

 

 
♦ Childcare for Found in Translation
Co-Sponsors: Jason Pavel & Molly Nelson
Location: Somerville Hospital
Description: Help break the cycle of poverty and racism by providing childcare to women involved in Found in Translation's training programs. Found in Translation's mission is to help homeless and low-income multilingual women to achieve economic security through the use of their language skills; and to reduce ethnic, racial, and linguistic disparities in health care by unleashing bilingual talent into the workforce. 
RSVP directly to Jason Pavel.
 
♦ Weekly Call to Action
Co-Sponsors: Leilani Diaz & Nick Patterson
Date: Weekly throughout the RSJ Action Campaign
Description: Nick Patterson and Leilani Diaz are taking turns sending out the Weekly Call to Action email ONCE a week. In each email, Nick or Leilani will include: links to sources that have info about who to contact about different issues; encouragement to call legislators about an issue important to you; a brief blurb about what Nick or Leilani will be calling about; how your action relates to one of the Buddhist precepts.
RSVP directly to Leilani or Nick 
 
♦ Racial & Social Justice shared resources googledoc - crowd-sourced, check it out!
 
Why are we doing this? The goals of the RSJ Action Campaign are to:
engage, excite, and connect the sangha
deepen our understanding of important topics
contribute to the common good at this time of urgent need
foster new relationships and expand existing ones
spark conversations around issues of justice
 
Join the RSJ closed Facebook page to keep updated on the continually evolving list of opportunities. Upcoming events.....

PAST EVENTS

♦ Earth Day State House Sit 
Co-Sponsors: Leilani Diaz and Mike Cerone
Date: Saturday, Apr 22, 2018 @ 2-4pm
Location: Boston state house
Description: Please join us on Earth Day, Sunday April 22, 2-4pm for seated/walking meditation at the State House! We are meeting in the brick area in front of the steps of the State House (Park Street and Beacon Street). 
Schedule:
10-15minutes to settle in/greet attendees, and Michael/Leilani (cosponsors of the sit) will speak about what we are doing and how it relates to practice
25 minute seated meditation
5 min kinhin (walking meditation)
25 minute seated meditation
10 min transition to discussion spot (TBD)
30 minute ending group discussion/reflection 
RSVP directly to Leilani Diaz or Mike Cerone, or by joining their FB invite (which has a lot more info). 
 
♦ Discussion Group: "So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
Co-Sponsors: Josh Bartok, Rebecca Behizadeh, Mike Fieleke, Sandra Raponi
Dates: March 25th & April 1, 2018 @ 6:45 - 8:45
Location: Greater Boston Zen Center (288 Nortfolk St)
Description: Ijeoma Oluo's timely book provides guidelines for discussing race across identities. Engaging in frank discussions of race is often a difficult task, but avoidance leads to the perpetuation of injustice. Join us for an exploration of white privilege, systemic discrimination, micro-aggressions, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America. This will be an opportunity to connect with sangha members who want to confront racism in a Buddhist practice context.
RSVP here
 
♦ Weekly Call to Action
Co-Sponsors: James Peregrino & Leilani Diaz
Date: Weekly throughout the RSJ Action Campaign
Description: James Peregrino and Leilani Diaz are taking turns sending out the Weekly Call to Action email ONCE a week - Mondays - for the duration of the Action Campaign (August 1-October 31). In each email, James and Leilani will include: links to sources that have info about who to contact about different issues; encouragement to call legislators about an issue important to you;a brief blurb about what James or Leilani will be calling about.
RSVP directly to Leilani Diaz or James Peregrino
 
♦ Dinner (potluck) and Discussion: "Buddhist Responses to Sexism" 
Co-Sponsors: Cheryl M. and Pam H.
Dates: February 3, 2018 @ @4-6pm
Who: All self-identified women
Location: Boundless Way Temple (1030 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602)
Description: Dinner and conversation about Buddhist responses to the dynamics of being gendered female. Please be prepared to share ingredients in your potluck offering for those who have sensitivities.
RSVP directly to Pam [email protected] or on the FB invite here
 
♦ Dinner (potluck) and Discussion: "Buddhist Responses to Sexism" 
Co-Sponsors: Cheryl Morrow & Melissa Myozen Blacker
Dates: Sunday, December 16, 2017 @ 4pm
Location: Boundless Way Temple (1030 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602)
Description: Does it feel like things are starting to change for women? Does the response to the recent misconduct of political figures signal a shift in attitudes? Are you surprised by any of it? How are things changing in the workplace and the world for you and other women? Will this be a turning point in history or just a blip on the radar screen? How do we, as Zen Buddhists, respond to sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault to women throughout the world? And most of all, can we welcome all of the feelings and reactions we have as we wake up to gender discrimination in our lives? Bring your experiences, observations, and insight to our next potluck dinner and discussion led by our cherished teacher Melissa Blacker, Roshi. Please be prepared to share ingredients in your potluck offering for those who have sensitivities.
RSVP directly to Cheryl Morrow or on the FB invite here
 
♦ Book Club: "Awakening Together" by Larry Yang
Co-Sponsors: Josh Bartok & Rebecca Behizadeh
Dates: Sundays October 29 & Nov 5, 2017 from 7-9pm
Location: Greater Boston Zen Center
Description: Book discussion! We will be reading "Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity in Community" by Larry Yang in 2 installments. For the first meeting, we will use Appendix 2 to launch our conversation. It's a great book, so pre-reading is encouraged, but the conversation will be accessible to those who haven't been able to read beforehand.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE BOOK:
Ebook available now from Wisdompubs.org
Print book available at Zen Center starting Tues 9/19
Print book available from Amazon on 10/24
RSVP directly to Josh or Rebecca or on the FB invite here
 
♦ Dinner (potluck) and Discussion: "Buddhist Women & Sexism" 
Co-Sponsors: Cheryl Morrow & Melissa Myozen Blacker
Dates: Sunday, October 21 @ 4pm
Location: Boundless Way Temple (1030 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602)
Description: Do sexist and misogynistic attitudes show up more often now? How do you feel about the way our female senators are treated during public proceedings?  How would you feel if you had to work alongside the engineer at Google who posted a manifesto declaring that women are unfit to be engineers? ♦ What does it feel like to be the only woman in the room?  Have there been times when you did not feel validated as a contributing member of a group?  Have you ever felt that others were "putting you into a box" to fit their preconceived notion of your abilities and talents? ♦ How can women support each other in these type of situations?  How can women shift the culture within organizations toward greater fairness without causing others to feel threatened? ♦ How can we use this unique insight and this special opportunity to awaken to a greater potential for the benefit of all beings?
Please be prepared to share ingredients in your potluck offering for those who have sensitivities.
RSVP directly to Cheryl Morrow or on the FB invite here
 
♦ The State House Sit - second opportunity to participate!!
Co-Sponsors: Leilani Diaz and Mike Cerone
Date: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2-4pm
Location: Boston state house
Description: Join us for seated/walking meditation across the State House (corner of the Common). The idea of a State House Sit came as a result of several sangha members expressing a sense of helplessness and frustration with the current political, social, and racial climate - and feeling unsure about what to do about it. The State House Sit is a way to channel the uncertainty, helplessness, and frustration into a very simple, but powerful action -  or "just sitting."
RSVP directly to Leilani Diaz or Mike Cerone, or by joining their FB invite (which has a lot more info). 
 
♦ RSJ Moving Night: "13th"
Co-Sponsors: Josh Bartok & Liz Roemer
Date: Sunday, September 24th @ 7pm
Location: Josh & Liz's house (email them for address)
Description: Join us to watch "13th," a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay: "An in-depth look at the prison system in the US and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality." Conversation to follow. SEATING IS LIMITED TO 16 PEOPLE! This is only advertised on the private RSJ FB page. Check out the trailer here.
RSVP to Josh or on the FB event; there's also a sign-up sheet on the GBZC coffee table.
 
♦ The State House Sit
Co-Sponsors: Leilani Diaz and Mike Cerone
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2-4pm
Location: Boston state house
Description: Join us for seated/walking meditation across the State House (corner of the Common). The idea of a State House Sit came as a result of several sangha members expressing a sense of helplessness and frustration with the current political, social, and racial climate - and feeling unsure about what to do about it. The State House Sit is a way to channel the uncertainty, helplessness, and frustration into a very simple, but powerful action -  , or "just sitting."
RSVP directly to Leilani Diaz or Mike Cerone, or by joining their FB invite (which has a lot more info). 
 
♦ Labor Day March
Co-Sponsors: Mike Cerone and Rebecca Behizadeh
Date: Monday, Sept 4, 11am
Location: The Bandstand, Boston Common
Description: Join us in this rally and march! From their page: "In order to bring back good paying jobs with benefits including paid family leave, healthcare and fair scheduling, we must win a union. Most workers are being left behind as the gap between the wealthy continues to grow. It’s time to turn up the heat in the demand not just for a $15 an hour minimum wage, but for union rights. That’s why on Labor Day, workers in the Fight for $15 will join community leaders and allies in a nationwide uprising to confront politicians and corporations who have rigged the system against workers and put the demand for unions at the center of the national conversation."
RSVP directly to Rebecca or Mike
 
♦ Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest
Co-Sponsors: Julie Nelson and Josh Bartok
Date: August 21
Location: Boston Common
Description: Counter-protest to "free speech" rally planned in Boston in week after the Charlottesville rally. 
RSVP directly to Julie or Josh