Building on Success: White Awake year-in-review, and plans for 2016

Over the course of 2015, White Awake has broken new ground, resulting in many of the contributions noted in the new “Community Voices” section of this site:

  • a race-focused Beloved Community Program at BuddhaFest last summer
  • seminal talks by IMCW Guiding Teachers Tara Brach and Hugh Byrne
  • a deepening ability to connect with POC leadership in the Buddhist sanghas, including Insight teacher Ruth King and Zen priest Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, also featured below

Spiritual communities and nonprofit organizations throughout the country (CA, CO, MI, WI, MA, NY) have contacted us for support in using the curriculum tools offered for free on our website. We offered support to One Earth Sangha’s recent EcoSattva Training (which integrated a justice lens into teachings on a Buddhist response to climate change and received a very positive response from the maha sangha). White Awake will be featured in an upcoming article with the Washington Post, a book from Yale Press, and a University of Wisconsin PhD dissertation … and we’ve even been invited to submit a book proposal with a major publisher ourselves!

Building on its growth in 2015, White Awake has big plans for 2016.

White Awake’s roots are in Buddhist teachings and Buddhist networks, however we believe we have something to offer to a wider circle of faith groups, activists and nonprofit organizations – and that this wider circle has much to offer us! White Awake currently has a small acting board, and fiscal sponsorship from IMCW, but we have our sights set on how we can build a larger network as our organization grows. We have targeted leadership from a number of different spiritual traditions and progressive networks (including UU, Episcopal, Work that Reconnects, Reclaiming pagan traditions, SURJ National) to build a broad ranging advisory panel in 2016.

We are very excited about this first newsletter mailing, as well as “Community Voices”, the new article series on the site, and are committed to quarterly mailings and regular posts that increase the range of voices contributing to the site.

We are particularly honored that a self-organized group of white participants in Spirit Rock’s current “Community Dharma Leaders” program are adapting and transforming White Awake curriculum to support their personal growth and ability to participate in this cross-racial, race conscious, two year spiritual leadership training. White Awake is in contact with the CDL5 cohort, and has plans to bring their story – and their curriculum developments! – back to the White Awake site. This is a powerful, and replicable, model for how the work can grow.

Some folks who have reached out to us for support have had challenges in their community when people of color do not understand white affinity work. White Awake is working on a project with Howard University (HBCU) to develop curriculum that helps people of all racial backgrounds develop a vision of what a positive, nonracist, socially transformative white identity looks like, as well as an understanding of what kinds of processes help to develop this.

Finally, many of you have expressed interest in the White Awake “training of trainers” program described on the site. During 2016, we hope to begin accepting applications for a beta-program that would begin in 2017.

If you have questions, or would like more information about any of our 2016 plans, please contact us!

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