our commitment to inclusivity

Inclusivity Statement

The community of Brooklyn Zen Center acknowledges that suffering is a human condition often intensified by the biases, prejudices, behaviors and societal structures that favor or harm individuals and peoples because of race, class, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, political party, religious commitment or other beliefs and positions. We welcome and affirm all who come here in search of freedom from habits that cause suffering, and who will work toward respectful acceptance of others across our many differences, harmonizing the one and the many.

Our Inclusivity Committee, Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers are actively engaged in activities and initiatives that make real our aspiration to dissolve barriers that separate us from each other so that all feel welcome, seen and heard. This commitment to diversity and inclusivity is grounded in our vow to do no harm and our understanding that one’s own liberation is intimately tied up with the liberation of all. Nowhere in our extraordinary diversity can any ultimate separation be found. This is the truth that guides us.

Brooklyn Zen Center is dedicated to ensuring that our offerings are available to all, regardless of ability to pay. No one is turned away from the teachings for lack of funds. Toward this commitment, limited scholarship funds are available for longer meditation retreats. Practitioners should feel encouraged to inquire if payment is a barrier to your participation.

Inclusivity Committee

With regard to all Brooklyn Zen Center policies, programming, practices, assumptions and attitudes, this committee is tasked by our Board of Directors to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations concerning inclusivity, diversity and potential barriers to participation in an effort to ensure to the best of its ability that all individuals feel welcome, seen and heard within this community. To contact our inclusivity committee, please use our online form.

Accessibility Committee

The BZC Accessibility Committee’s mission is to create a supportive environment that allows everyone to show up just as they are. We work to remedy physical barriers to practice, and we also facilitate conversations on ableism and disability within the larger community. We work to create a culture that challenges ableism and honors the wisdom of disability justice practices. We welcome anyone who would like to join us. If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like to support our work, please email us at info[at]brooklynzen[dot]org.

Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Sangha

The Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Sangha fosters mutual support and understanding among those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and find nourishment and inspiration in the teachings and practice of Buddhism. The group’s intention is to provide a safe, brave and cherished space supported by a Soto Zen Buddhist context to openly discuss our experiences living and navigating oppressive, racial, biased, social structures. For more information or to contact the BIPOC Sangha, read here.

Undoing Whiteness & Oppression Group

This is a monthly group where Zen practitioners who identify or are identified as white explore the racial construct of whiteness, how we grasp the identity and the privilege integral to it, and how we might divest from these entanglements so we are freed to skillfully address the pain and suffering caused by them. More information is available here.

Undoing Racism

Brooklyn Zen Center regularly works with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to ensure our staff, leadership and community are trained in their Undoing Racism curriculum. Their two-day workshop utilizes a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism. More information on the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is available here.