EBMC was founded to provide a welcoming environment for people of color, members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented communities. We invite everyone into the process of creating a community that provides an alternative to dominant culture values and practices of domination and inequity. Our mission is to foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action, and inclusive community building.
We ask everyone who comes through our doors to actively participate in co-creating the most welcoming, inclusive and socially-aware environment in which to practice meditation and learn from our programs and teachers. Below are some of the organizational practices and policies designed to support our Radical Inclusivity practice. If you have any questions or comments about these policies, please write to us at Radical.Inclusivity@eastbaymeditation.org
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 practice groups reserved for People of Color, and for members of the LGBTQI communities. There is also a weekly practice group for people with disabilities, chronic illness and chronic pain. 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 practice groups), except events reserved for certain specific communities. If at any time during the registration period, the percentage of individuals registered who self-identify as POC falls below the minimum percentage that EBMC wishes to have in attendance, we may prematurely close the registration for that event, allowing prospective participants to sign up on a waiting list. 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 target percentage of POC in attendance.
6. EBMC’s Agreements for Multicultural Interactions
Adapted from VISIONS Inc., “Guidelines for Productive Work Sessions”
PDF version: Agreements Multicultural Interactions
7. Fragrance Free Practice
We ask that everyone come to the center Fragrance Free. For more information, please see our Resources section.
8. EBMC’s Accessibility Policy
PDF version of EBMC’s Accessibility Policy, passed in 2012.
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