DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Prairie Mountain Zen Center welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. We seek to make Zen practice available to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, political affiliation, economic class, sexual orientation, age, and ability. We recognize that the practice of sitting quietly with yourself, surrounded and supported by others doing the same, can benefit everyone. In our practice, we value both our differences and what we share.
In-person Events by other groups
Zen Peacemakers International retreat: Bearing Witness to Racism in America (Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Alabama) May 7 – 11, 2022. A "bearing witness" retreat around America's racial history, seen through the eyes of African Americans. Participants will "walk the ground" in three cities with a deep history in the expansion of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement – Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery.
Free Online Courses
Anti-Racism is a three-course specialization intended for anyone who is interested in learning about race and racism, particularly in the context of the United States, wants to be an anti-racist advocate, or seeks to incorporate anti-racist practices into their daily lives. The courses in the specialization include the following:
Anti-Racism I is an ideal starting place for learners unfamiliar with critical race theory and want a primer on race and racism in the United States.
Anti-Racism II builds on the basics introduced in the first course and explores historical and linguistic constructions of race and racism in the United States and the theory of intersectionality. The second course also asks learners to apply its content to cultural contexts outside of the US, and it culminates in an interview project aimed at deepening conversational nuance when learners engage with the topics of race and racism with family, friends, colleagues, or peers.
Anti-Racism III then puts the theory introduced in the first two courses into practice. Learners will create a plan for practicing anti-racism and develop a project for community outreach and engagement.
Video and Audio
How to Fight Injustice without Hating, a four-part video series by Valerie Brown. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings of engaged Buddhism and the Plum Village tradition, this course offers practices to help ground ourselves amid the negativity and injustice that we face. From a peaceful center, you’ll discover how to skillfully respond to strong emotions that may arise while engaging in social causes. Valerie Brown is a dharma teacher of Afro-Cuban descent in the Plum Village tradition founded by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.
Buddhism, Oppression, and Justice. Social justice activist Pamela Ayo Yetunde facilitates a conversation between Rhonda Magee, author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness and Rima Veseley-Flad, author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice, on the topics of dharma practice, oppression, and justice.
Learning about Black Buddhist Dharma Teachers and Healing Justice, podcast with Rima Vesely-Flad.
Buddhism, Writing, and Race, a conversation with Charles Johnson. Hawaii Book and Music Festival and Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, 2021. Novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary scholar, short-story writer, cartoonist and illustrator, an author of children’s literature, and a screen-and-teleplay writer, Charles Johnson says, "Were it not for the Buddhadharma, I'm convinced that, as a black American and an artist, I would not have been able to successfully negotiate my last half century of life in this country. Or at least not with a high level of creative productivity."
Undoing Whiteness in American Buddhist Modernism. Harvard Divinity School Buddhism and Race Speaker Series, 2021.
Black and Buddhist and the Sanitized Stench of Genocide in the U. S. Zen Peacemakers, 2021.
Black And Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom, Harvard Divinity School, 2020.
Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are. Pamelo Ayo Yetunde, Rhena Harilall, Nobantu Mpotulo, David W. Robinson-Morris, and Yao Obiora Dibia. Lion's Roar, January 3, 2022.
Buddhist leaders share open letter addressing antisemitism following Texas synagogue attack. Lilly Greenblatts. Lion's Roar, January 19, 2022.
Yes, She was a Powerful Woman! A Dedication to bell hooks. Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Zenzele Isoke, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Lori Perine, and Kamilah Majied. Lion's Roar, December 24, 2021.
The Time for Black Sanghas has Arrived. Valerie Mason-John. Buddhadharma, October 6, 2021.
Follow Indigenous Leaders to Stop Line 3. Ben Connelly. Lion's Roar, September 17, 2021.
Buddhists and Racial Justice: A History. Ann Gleig, Tricycle, July 24, 2021.
Buddhist Justice Reporter and the George Floyd Trials. Pamela Iyo Yetunde, Tricycle, March 29, 2021
Why Are Asian Americans Being Attacked and What Can You Do About It? Zaid Jelani, Greater Good, March 21, 2021
Born with Two Strikes: How Systemic Racism Shaped Floyd’s Life and Hobbled his Ambition. Washington Post, October 8, 2020
Why is Covid-19 Killing so Many Black Americans? Andrea Collier, Greater Good, June 30, 2020.
The American Nightmare, Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic, June 1, 2020
A Classic on White Privilege
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, National SEED Project, Peggy McIntosh, 1989.
I Hear Her Words: An Introduction to Women in Buddhism, Alice Collette, 2021.
You Belong: A Call for Connection. Sebene Selassie, 2020.
Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom, Pamela Yetunde and Cheryl A. Giles, 2020.
Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections, edited by George Yancey and Emily McRae, 2019.
The Inner Work of Racial Justice, Rhonda V. Magee, 2019.
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo, 2019.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo, 2018.
Dharma Relief announces “Healing Race Relations,” a project that will provide Buddhist leaders of color with financial support for their dharma activities and offer resources and support for North American Buddhist groups interested in healing the trauma of racism in their dharma communities. To learn more and support the effort, click here.
Talking About Race, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution