In keeping with the "Diversity and Inclusive Community Building" component of EBMC's mission, the Center has a number of organizational practices and policies designed to facilitate participation from members of marginalized communities in EBMC's programs, events, and activities.
1. "All-Dana" Generosity-Based Financial Model:
EBMC charges no registration fees for participation in any events or programs (except fundraising events.) Instead the Center relies on "Dana", an ancient Pali word meaning Generous Giving. Rather than being charged a fee, participants are invited to make voluntary gifts, in proportion to their ability, as one-time offerings, or as members of the "Friends of EBMC" monthly donor program, to support the Center, and the teachers. This assures full access to EBMC's programs, regardless of socio-economic status. (In other spheres, this financial model is sometimes called "Gift Economics.) For more information about EBMC's All-Dana model, click here.
2. Center Location:
The EBMC Leadership Sangha chose to open the Center in downtown Oakland, at a location accessible by BART and bus, in order to minimize barriers to participation resulting from lack of access to private transportation options.
3. Spaces Reserved for Specific Communities:
In order to provide "safe spaces" for certain marginalized communities, EBMC sponsors weekly sitting groups reserved for People of Color, and for members of the LGBTQI communities. In addition, one-day retreats and class series are periodically scheduled for members of specific communities (e.g. for People of Color, for Women of Color, for the LGBTQI communities, etc.). These programs are intended to create spaces where members of these communities can feel safe, being less likely to face dynamics of oppression that are part of their daily lives, in our culture where progress is still needed to move towards a society free of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. The EBMC Leadership Sangha believes that these spaces are conducive to practitioners, especially newer practitioners, to be able to focus their full efforts on learning, and integrating into their lives, the practices of mindfulness meditation, compassion, and other wisdom teachings offered at the Center.
4. Demographics Tracking
During the registration process for EBMC's events, prospective participants are offered the opportunity to voluntarily indicate whether they self-identify as a Person of Color, as being on the LGBTQI and Same-Gender Loving spectrum, as having a disability, or as being a young person. This voluntary reporting allows EBMC to monitor to what extent the Center is succeeding in reaching a diverse community.
5. Event Publicity and Registration Practices
The EBMC Leadership Sangha has set a goal of maximizing the percentage of People of Color (POC) in attendance at each of the retreats, class series, and workshops for which EBMC requires advance registration (i.e. not for the weekly sitting groups), except events reserved for certain specific communities. To that end, the first publicity email is sent (approximately six weeks before the event), with the event registration link, to the list of email addresses of individuals who have previously self-identified as members of the People of Color (POC) community. Starting approximately two weeks later (i.e. around four weeks before the event), the event is opened up for general registration through emails that are sent to the full list of email addresses in EBMC's database, and through posting of the registration link on that event's page on the EBMC website. At the teacher's discretion, if at any time during the registration period, the percentage of individuals registered who self-identify as POC falls below the minimum percentage that the teacher wishes to have in attendance, EBMC may prematurely close the registration for that event, allowing prospective participants to sign up on a waiting list. POC and non-POC individuals are then moved off of the waiting list, and offered spaces to participate in the event, in such proportions to attempt to maintain the teacher's target percentage of POC in attendance.
Founded in a celebration of diversity, the East Bay Meditation Center welcomes everyone seeking to end suffering and cultivate happiness. Our mission is to foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action, and inclusive community building. We offer mindfulness practices and teachings on wisdom and compassion from Buddhist and other spiritual traditions. Rooted in our commitment to diversity, we operate with transparent democratic governance, generosity-based economics, and environmental sustainability.