Help Heal the Wounds of Discrimination

Dedication ceremony for the sculpture of Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Magnolia Grove Monastery. Photo by Paul Davis

Dedication ceremony for the sculpture of Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Magnolia Grove Monastery. Photo by Paul Davis

I want to feel integrated within myself, just feeling like all parts of myself can be present. But sometimes it’s hard to feel a sense of belonging when people tell us that we’re different or “not normal”. The work that ARISE is doing is to create an openness and a space of belonging for everyone.
— Brian, Multi-heritage, Queer, Person of Color

ARISE: Who We Are

ARISE (Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity) is a group of mindfulness practitioners and monastics in the Plum Village tradition who have come together with the aspiration to use the energy of compassion, understanding, and love in order to heal the wounds of discrimination and social inequity within ourselves and our society. In 2015, due to the racial violence and unrest occurring in the nation, members of the Plum Village community, together with other Buddhist communities, participated in national discussions on racial and social inequities. From these gatherings, ARISE emerged with the desire to use mindfulness as the vehicle to alleviate suffering wherever it existed, knowing that the suffering of one person was the suffering of us all.

Our Aspirations

  • Co-create a network within our mindfulness practice communities for people who are interested in racial justice and social equity issues
  • Encourage the sharing of resources and share information on teachings and practices on racial and social justice
  • Co-create a sacred, courageous space for discussion and exchange on mindfulness social equity issues
  • Encourage diversity and inclusion in leadership within the mindfulness community
  • Serve as a resource by sharing ideas and facilitating ARISE presentations at retreats, regular sangha gatherings, and other events

Mindfulness in Action

The following are some examples of how your gifts to the Foundation made mindfulness teachings available to people from marginalized and underserved communities:

Many Streams, One Source Retreat: Your gifts provided scholarships to the "Many Streams, One Source" retreat and allowed LGBTQ+, People of Color, and allied young adult communities to come together and celebrate diversity. "I felt a sense of vulnerability and openness...Many who had felt invisible and unheard, including myself, had a chance to speak and be heard. We spoke from places we did not know existed, possibly because we had spent years hiding from these lonely corners. I heard so many voices (queer people of color, transgender individuals) that are usually drowned out by chatter from everyday life…[W]e spoke about coming out, struggling with our sexual identities and finding a home in our own skin. I had never had such candid exchanges with monastics before...Without outlets like ‘Many Streams, One Source,’ reluctant voices remain unheard and ideas and experiences remain unshared. We need these spaces to enrich society and heal frayed hearts."

-Jason, Queer, Asian-American, 2017 Retreat participant

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“Where Spirit Meets Action” Racial Justice panel in NYC: In response to the tragic events in Baltimore, New York, Charleston, Ferguson and elsewhere in 2015, your gifts helped sangha organizers bring inspiring panelists to New York City for a widely-attended discussion on the interbeing of spirituality and action in the struggle for racial justice. This event encouraged attendees to look deeply and act compassionately to address America's deep-rooted habit of structural racism and was a catalyst for the formation of ARISE.

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People of Color Retreat at Deer Park Monastery: Your gifts made scholarship funds available for people of color to attend the "Path of True Love: Healing Ourselves" Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color. Buddhist teachers of color were invited, and ARISE members played a strong role in organizing, staffing and facilitating this retreat.

Make a Difference this Giving Tuesday 2017

This #GivingTuesday 2017, ARISE is partnering with the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation to raise $15,000 in funds for projects that will use mindfulness to heal the wounds of racial injustice and social inequity. These funds will specifically focus on the following two initiatives in 2018:

1.     Retreat Scholarships for People of Color

Though retreat scholarships are offered through the U.S. mindfulness practice centers, funds are unfortunately limited. ARISE aspires to grow the retreat scholarship funds in order to support those in financial need, especially retreatants who come from marginalized communities. A gift of $100 will provide a full scholarship for someone to attend a weekend mindfulness retreat at a monastic practice center, and the goal is to provide scholarships for at least 100 people of color in 2018.

2.     Support Teachers in Bringing Mindfulness Events to Marginalized Communities

Travel costs, time constraints, and physical accessibility often make it difficult to attend retreats at practice centers. That is why ARISE aspires to bring mindfulness teachings directly to communities of color and other marginalized communities, meeting them exactly where they are. A gift as little as $20 will help make funds available for teachers of color to offer retreats, public talks, and Days of Mindfulness to these populations. Funds would help to defray costs for teacher travel and retreat expenses, and would foster greater participation by leaders of color. ARISE’s goal is to allocate $5,000 to organize 10 public talks and/or half days of mindfulness specifically for people of color and marginalized groups in community colleges, historically Black colleges, and other underserved areas that would benefit from teachings on mindfulness and practices to nourish compassion and healing.

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Continue the Legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr.

Our dear teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared a common vision for the beloved community. Their legacy invites us to look deeply at racial, systemic, and social inequities, particularly now, when so many people are suffering the effects of violence, fear, and enmity.  As students of Thich Nhat Hanh, we are actively engaged in the practice of transformation. We are here to do the work, and we invite you to join us to bring about healing and unity within ourselves and our society.

On the path together,

ARISE Sangha and the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation

Learn more about ARISE, visit their website or follow them on Facebook