February 10, 2011

Urban Refuge

I’ve blogged about Urban Refuge before, but it’s definitely worth a repost a year later. Here’s Urban Refuge’s self-description:

A virtual sangha for Buddhist practitioners of color, allies and all others interested in promoting racial and cultural diversity in Western Buddhism.

On this site, you can find a community blog page, upcoming events, a listing of People of Color meditation groups and more. This site’s strength, however, is only as strong as the community that supports it. If you believe in diversity and racial equality in Western Buddhism, I encourage you to show your support by joining this site and contributing.

You might be asking yourself now, “What could I possibly contribute?” Well, here are three ways you could:

  • Do you know of diversity programs that your community offers that don’t appear on the site? If you do, you have something to give that isn’t already there!
  • Do you know of books, articles or other resources of benefit to the community? These are resources that you can share!
  • Do you know of great teachers, leaders or artists of color in the Buddhist community, who aren’t well known? Here’s a great opportunity to join and get the word out to the greater Buddhist community about these individuals!

These are just three examples. Even if you don’t have ideas off the top of your head, you could easily snoop around on Google and fill in the gaps that we’ve certainly overlooked. In fact, that’s exactly how many of us got in touch with other Buddhists of Color to begin with. I imagine there must be more People of Color meditation groups than are currently posted on the site!

(Hey, non-Americans, your communities are totally underrepresented here—I’m sure you all have much to share!)

Or then there’s the other question, “Does this site really make a difference?” Well, I can’t say for sure—I just know how it’s impacted me. In my case, Urban Refuge is the site that ultimately brought me to a People of Color group—a place where one fellow practitioner simply reached out to me and showed me to a group that has deepened my connection to my local Buddhist community. I imagine that there are other Buddhists of color out there, who—as I was—are within arm’s reach of a more supportive community, but don’t even know it.

So why not check out Urban Refuge and lend a hand to furthering racial and cultural diversity in our community?

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