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Voices on our 3-year journey 

Becoming The Mindfulness Network for people of colour, testimonials and comments 


"The disproportions in the number teachers of colour ignites the deep-seeded intention that the industry must learn what we can do for it and not what it can do for us "

William Fley

In the process of becoming, in hearing the many voices and shared journeys of what makes or breaks the human spirit, the complexity and intersectionalities of race and ethnicity require a deep commitment to both change and compassionate insight, thank you for carrying this torch of liberation.

I recognise that there need to be spaces for people of colour specifically. A place where the needs of people with those identities and communities are put first. Put first, in a wider social context in which we have all too often been marginalised, underrepresented or outright excluded. 

 

The 'Mindfulness Network for People of Colour' is needed to address internalized racism, and to deal with the negative stigma and isolation that many of us feel in white spaces. To have teachings that can also reflect the voices which often are silenced by oppression. To also understand that with privilege comes responsibility. Most importantly that we can learn the value in leaning on practices in times of difficulties and uncertainty.

It is easy to say 'everyone is equal and we should be inclusive' when you've never had to suffer from the impact of institutionalised racism. I'd love for us to live in an equal society, though sadly this isn't the lived experience of so many. Therefore I feel it is important and a useful thing to have spaces or opportunities specifically for people from groups that need them. MNPC! 

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 Should we become 'People of colour' or 'People of all colours? 2019

I think 'People of All Colours,' as an attempt to placate white people, feeds into this narrative that 'we shouldn't see colour, everyone is equal.' This statement and sentiment is often a white person's idealised narrative coming from a place of privilege because we've never had to live the reality of racism. 

In the US* asserting that something is for people of "all colours" is a written signal that space wants to claim an interest in social justice. However, it's really about making sure that Euro-Americans feel comfortable at any cost. Such a space would either end up all "white" or would rapidly become so hostile to POC, eventually driving POC out.

Hi William, I just explored the MNPC website and I love it, well done! For me your message is strong, passionate, fair and so very.... MINDFUL!! I prefer the "People of all Colours" name as (for me) it is totally inclusive. I am of mixed race and "appear" white. So names and titles usually have little meaning for me until I sense whether the person/subject/group is completely non-judgemental.

Hi William, I realise in reading your post that I feel quite hesitant in commenting on the choice of names. I think, first and foremost, that it's just a fantastic project and I really applaud your intentions and approach. Race, ethnicity and inclusion feel like such complex topics to me, and I've been really interested to read other people's feelings about the name choice.

Comments on the complexity of the term POC:

I realised quite quickly that I had not considered that I might have a black participant and in fact I did not have the knowledge to describe a black palm. I had one black participant turn up so I had to imagine the colouring and use those descriptions. My daughter is mixed-race and my ex-husband is African but we separated over 20 years ago. It showed me that I was not being inclusive in my preparation.It is perhaps because we Irish have been an oppressed race for so long, and we too were sold into slavery to work the sugar plantations - and of course I am not comparing the Irish oppression to the suffering of any other group. 

Hi William, I’m white but I prefer People of Colour - it’s an emotional rather than rational response I think, but has to do with colour and joy and even if you’re ‘white’, that’s a colour (and who on earth is actually ‘white’ - so we’re all ‘of colour’ if we’re open and honest about it. 

testimonials

‘I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in the Empowerment Retreat.

From the libation ritual that carried the hope of our Ancestors, to the rich sharing of breath, recognition, resources, support, and healing with a community of mindful souls who look like me.

The wonderfully creative, inspirational speakers and offerings. The messages of ‘beginning again’ was so powerful for me and the acknowledgement that I am not a visitor.

Reclaiming where I am from allowed space for me to start to feel safe,  to come just as I am, to see and be seen. I am beginning to find my place of belonging…. of coming home.

Thank you, I am so grateful for this precious sacred space – Namaste’

 

Rita Devi Mitra