When 125 diverse Buddhist leaders made their historic and unified visit to the White House in May 2015, they identified two urgent issues as priorities in contemporary United States: 1. climate change, 2. racial justice. Statements were presented to the U.S. Administration about these two critical crises of the times.
Building on the energy of the White House visit and in response to the Charleston massacre June of that year, Buddhist leaders Tara Brach, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Hugh Byrne, Eleanor Hancock, Anurag Gupta, and others spearheaded the creation of Buddhists for Racial Justice, starting with an open letter on racism to Buddhists. Thus far, BRJ has received more than 1,300 endorsements from whites and persons of color.
In the next few months, you will begin to see the many valuable resources at BRJ fold into North American Buddhist Alliance as an initiative with three intended reaches:
- Buddhist teachings for individuals to selectively apply as each addresses that discriminating nature within and according to one's relative social position within the context of structural racism.
- A directory of Buddhist diversity trainers available and a collection of educational multimedia modules such as NABA's recent video recordings of the teachers' webinar on Gender and Race in a New Era with Venerable Pannavati and Venerable Lekshe.
- A repository and sharing of collective Buddhist initiatives or actions meant to be antidotes for systemic or structural racism.
As NABA and BRJ grow together, we will need more dedicated volunteers the likes of Johanna Cartledge and Jill De La Hunt. In addition, we will need WordPress techies available to update the website and grant writers for development. Please contact Info@NorthAmericanBuddhistAlliance.org if you can help!