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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in ZCO

We may think that oneness should exclude marks of diversity like race, gender, and sexuality, yet oneness is inclusive of everything in our lives… Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors approved the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Proposal made by the Engaged Buddhism Committee at this past Board meeting on September 8, 2019.

As you may know, Zen Community of Oregon has been offering the program Awakening to Whiteness to help educate white-indentified people on race, oppression and privilege. ZCO has also been hosting events and teachers such as Lama Rod Owens, Arinna Weisman, Niema Lightseed, Larry Ward and Caverly Morgan, who have helped open up conversations about racial justice and collective awakening in our community.

Inspired by the personal transformation these programs have generated, ZCO is now ready to take the next Sangha-wide step of examining our organizational systems, procedures and micro-cultures through an EDI lens. In Spring 2020, the leadership, teachers and board of directors will meet with two professional facilitators and consultants, Yee Won Chong and Roberta Hunte, to begin envisioning an EDI plan for our Sangha. Through a day-long facilitated training and ongoing consultation with Yee Won, ZCO leaders will begin the collective process of integrating EDI principles into our vision, expression, and functioning.

As part of this process, we encourage anyone who identifies as white and has been a member of ZCO for a year or more to take the six-month transformative program Awakening to Whiteness, which will be offered January to June in 2020 at both Heart of Wisdom and Great Vow Zen Monastery.

I am personally excited that our Sangha is taking this step towards becoming a community that is welcoming to all. I look forward to the conversations and organizational changes that may come from wholeheartedly engaging in this work together.

In gratitude,

Kisei Amy Costenbader
ZCO Board President