- New to Meditation
An Online Fundraiser to Support Buddhist Global Relief
The Bay Area is coming together again this year for an online version of the Walk to Feed the Hungry in support of Buddhist Global Relief, an organization that directly addresses hunger and poverty around the world and in the US. This year, in addition to making an online donation, there will be two ways to participate in the Walk:
1) Make a Mindful Movement Pledge
Pledge to do an activity in support of the Action to Feed the Hungry. The activity might be walking or cycling, for example. Just create a fundraising page to participate! Share your Mindful Movement Pledge, and encourage other folks to donate in support of your efforts.
2) Join our Buddhist Action to Feed the Hungry online gathering
On Saturday, October 3rd, from 1 to 3 p.m. Pacific Time, we will get together online to hear from our host temples: Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Berkeley Buddhist Temple, and Berkeley Zen Center. We’ll also enjoy video of Mindful Movement activities, and hear from BGR Executive Director Kim Behan and from Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Founder and Chair of BGR. Zoom links are available on the Berkeley Action page very soon.
Your generous donation will support Buddhist Global Relief’s work to feed the hungry, to educate children in need, to support sustainable agriculture, and to empower vulnerable women. You may also choose to give directly through the BGR website at buddhistglobalrelief.org/donate.
Suppressed 2020: The Fight To Vote
by Robert Greenwald
(Director of Outfoxed, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Making A Killing: Guns Greed and the NRA)
A short, powerful documentary about the growing threat of voter suppression to our 2020 election. Deeply personal accounts from voters of color across the state of Georgia reveal deliberate, widespread voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. Polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots, extreme wait times and voter ID issues were in full effect again during the 2020 primaries and are on-going across the country right now, all disproportionately affecting Black Americans and minorities from casting their ballots. Now, amidst a global health crisis, the cruel weaponization of vote-by-mail restrictions has turned the constitutional right to vote into a choice between life and death. Suppressed 2020 is a call to action against the calculated, unconstitutional and racist attacks intended to suppress the right to vote in America
Showing Up for the Planet
Saturday, August 22nd, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Join James Baraz and other special guests including Spirit Rock teachers Thanissara and Donald Rothberg, climate scientist and Zen Priest Kritee Kanko, Teja Bell (Qi Gong) and Eve Decker (music) for a special Climate Day.
The day will include guided meditations, inspired teachings, music, Qigong, and feature presentations by Bay Area organizations on ways we can take specific, tangible actions for the planet. Teachers will also share on themes of climate action and social justice in relation the the Dharma.
The day will be offered free of charge with donations going to organizations in support of climate action.
To Register and for more information, please refer to the flyer – Showing Up for the Planet
Join a group that writes postcards to voters who may have been removed from their state voting rolls without their knowledge. The group advises them to check with their state Voter Registrar to verify their status and provides them with the Registrar’s website and phone number. These are mostly minority voters, in swing states and districts. The voter information is received from “Flip The West” and “Reclaim Our Vote”.
In order to join the postcard campaign, email Judith Bolker – judithbolker [at] comcast [dot] net, and request the number of voters you wish to start with. She will send you the voters’ names and addresses, a script, instructions and in some cases a template that you can print and paste to the postcard. In addition, Judith will also advise you where you can purchase the postcards and scripts.
Typically, you can order 50 names at a time and write 5 cards a day
Besides door to door canvassing, postcard writing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with voters.
If there are any questions feel free to reach out to sangha member Lloyd Rath: lloyd.elollo [at] gmail [dot] com
Join other Buddhist practitioners for a safely-distanced gathering of mindful sitting, walking and listening. Meet Sunday, June 14 from 10:30-12:30 at Civic Center Plaza, McAllister & Polk Sts., San Francisco.
For more information, visit [link] from the organizers.
In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25, anti-police brutality protests have reignited across the country, including around the Bay Area.
KQED lists five concrete ways to contribute to the fight for racial justice while sheltering in place: https://www.kqed.org/arts/13881199/5-ways-to-show-up-for-racial-justice-today
BUDDHISTS HELP GET OUT THE VOTE
In this time of great fear, it is important that we think of the long-term challenges—and possibilities—of the entire globe. Photographs of our world from space clearly show that there are no real boundaries on our blue planet. Therefore, all of us must take care of it and work to prevent climate change and other destructive forces. This pandemic serves as a warning that only by coming together with a coordinated, global response will we meet the unprecedented magnitude of the challenges we face. – The Dalai Lama
Dear Friends in the Dharma,
This is a truly critical time in American society. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, financial collapse, climate change emergency, and approaching a November election that threatens to exclude many eligible voters. As Buddhist teachers and leaders, we recognize that every vote and voice needs to be heard to help guide the next years of our society wisely.
A mutual caring community is one of the central teachings of the Buddha. In these times so marked by divisiveness and a lack of compassionate leadership, many of you have wondered how you and your whole community can help move us in this direction. Here are two crucial activities to encourage for everyone in your community:
❖ Register to vote; and sign up for an absentee ballot: You and your community can do this through Vote.org. Over thirty states now have no-excuse absentee voting, and many others are considering allowing COVID-19 as a valid excuse.
❖ Get your friends and family to register, sign up for an absentee ballot, and vote.
There’s more we all can do, and these actions don’t demand a lot of time.
1. Volunteer to do voter registration, absentee sign-ups, and get out the vote through these organizations.
• State Voices: A network of nonpartisan state coalitions of hundreds of grassroots organizations. Reach out and see if there are volunteer opportunities.
• National Voter Registration Day (Sept 22): Provides training and support on how to conduct voter registration, and will be making a heavy pivot to remote options this year, as well as a push to sign up for Vote-By-Mail (absentee). Includes legal guidance for voter registration drives.
• Vote Early Day (Oct 24): Inspired by National Voter Registration Day and anchored by a number of large media and tech companies, this organization will also be providing toolkits and training opportunities for impactful work, including recruitment of election workers. Will be assisting voters with both mail and in-person early-voting options. Was in the works pre-COVID-19, but is likely more critical in a pandemic.
• When We All Vote: The best-resourced, truly nonpartisan voter engagement organization.
2. Help ensure that eligible voters get to vote in key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin. Whether non-partisan or partisan there are many ways to help. There are many ways to do this.
• Here is an example of how you can get involved in the critical state of Wisconsin: https://winwisconsin.org/webinars/
3. Sign up to be a poll worker. Serving as a poll worker offers a dramatically under-appreciated opportunity to have an impact. Problems are made markedly worse or are mitigated to a substantial degree based on the quality of the poll worker. Chronic shortages of election workers nationwide cause long lines at the polls, especially at polling places that serve communities of color.
You can sign up to be a poll worker using this form and be connected to your local elections office.
Our collective involvement leading up to the November elections can really make a difference. Please forward this to as many teachers and Buddhist communities as you can throughout the United States. And thanks for joining us!
With lovingkindness, compassion and blessings,
Yours in the Dharma,
100+ Buddhist Teachers