Gatha for Healing Racial, Systemic and Social Inequity in Response to the U.S. Election 2016

Statement from ARISE* in Response to the U.S. Election, 2016

Aware of the suffering caused by racial, systemic, and social inequities, we commit ourselves, individually and as a community, to understanding the roots of these inequities, and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding and love in action. As a global community of practitioners, we are aware of the disproportionate racial violence and oppression committed by institutions and by individuals, whether consciously or unconsciously, against African Americans and people of color across the United States and beyond. We know that by looking deeply as individuals and as a community, we can engage the collective wisdom and energy of the Sangha to be our foundation for Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, and Right Insight. These are the practices leading to nondiscrimination, non-harming, and non-self which heal ourselves and the world.

ARISE, an international community of practitioners in the Plum Village tradition, is dedicated to looking deeply at racial and social inequity and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding, and love in action. We offer this gatha to deepen our collective understanding and commitment to true peace at this time of fear and turmoil as a result of the presidential election in the United States. As a community, we know that by stopping and looking deeply at the roots of hatred and violence while taking care of our fear and anger, and transforming suffering is our path of practice.

In the coming weeks, we encourage all of our Sanghas to take time for the practice of a Listening Circle, similar to Dharma sharing but with a specific theme such as The Trump Presidency, xenophobia and immigration, etc… as a concrete path to healing ourselves, nurturing understanding, and transforming the roots of suffering. You could begin with the sitting meditation and then reading this gatha before the sharing. Truly listening to understand one another and ourselves is a radical action in the face of hatred and division.

To heal, we must also act. We also encourage our Sanghas to engage when and as it is possible. Engage in healthy discussions. Engage in community healing. Engage in action, whether in the streets, calling your representatives, in offices or in the classrooms. Engage from a place of clarity by offering strength and courage, amidst real fear and violence.

“We have seen that one person can bring liberation and healing to thousands, even millions of people. Each one of us, whether a factory worker, a politician, a waitress, businessperson, an entertainer, or a father coaching a soccer game, shares this deep desire. But it is important to remember that to realize this wonderful ambition we must first take care of ourselves. To bring happiness to others, we must be happiness. And this is why we always train ourselves to first take care of our own bodies and minds. Only when we are solid can we be our best and take good care of our loved ones.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power, HarperOne, 2007, p.2-3.

A lotus of peace to everyone,
All Buddhas to be

The core committee of ARISE
Valerie Brown
Antoinette Gonzalez
Lyn Fine
Victoria Mausisa
Sister Ocean
Jo-ann Rosen
Brian BK Kimmel
Marisela Gomez
Jon Salunga
Kaira Jewel Lingo

*Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity. Intersectionality refers to how different forms of discrimination can combine, interact and overlap. Different forms of discrimination include discrimination based on gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality, and others. The term ‘Intersectionality’ was developed by Kimberle Crenshaw and can be used to understand how systemic injustice and social inequity occur on a multi-dimensional basis.