Essential to both Kalyana Mitta and Racial Affinity groups is the development of safety, trust, and intimacy. This allows members to share openly and deeply, and the heart of the dharma is enriched in our practice, our daily lives, and the collective experience of the greater society.
The specific intention of Racial Affinity Groups is to deepen self-awareness around issues of race in small, racially homogeneous groups that integrate the dharma into members’ personal and collective exploration. Development of this deepened self-awareness underlies wise action, and we’re encouraged not to rush too quickly to problem-solve or “fix” anything, but, rather, to take the time needed to do our own work. As stated by the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, “The main focus of the groups will be on sharing personal experiences related to race within the context of a mindfulness practice.” The model we’ll use is a council, in which members come to share, listen, and learn.
At our September 16, 2015 meeting, some wondered why groups with goals of equality and inclusion would be racially homogeneous. This is an important question, and we will continue to address how racial affinity groups can create a safe container for this difficult work and lead to greater understanding and interconnectedness for participants and the sangha as a whole. We also encourage you to read the Buddhists for Racial Justice’s “Calls to Engage”
and Ruth King’s Healing the Broken Body of Sangha
, which we hope will strengthen your understanding of this path.
Our Racial Affinity Groups are open to:
– Those who participate in the Triangle Insight Meditation Community.
– Committed Buddhist practitioners who attend another sangha.
These groups are an outgrowth of our sangha and are integrated with our dharma talks, practice, and study. This integration helps deepen connection among group members and the sangha as a whole, and participation in Triangle Insight is a valuable part of this process. Those who attend another sangha and join one of our Racial Affinity groups might find it beneficial to experience our teachers and sangha, and they’re welcome to attend Triangle Insight on Wednesday evening as convenient.
We are inspired by the dedication of our spiritual community. May our Racial Affinity Groups be of great benefit to all.
Kalyana Mitta-Racial Affinity Coordinating Team
RA Coordinator: Karen Ziegler
KM Coordinator: Sarah Tillis
Advisors: Tom Howlett, Tamara Share, Sarah Tillis, Karen Ziegler