Until the spring of 2020, anti-racism work was not a priority for ourselves or our organization. It’s painful to admit this, but it’s true. It was an important initiative in our minds, but had not touched our hearts in the way it does now. With the deaths of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and too many others, and the outcry for change, we feel so clearly why this must be a priority.
As White leaders in the mindfulness space, our immediate commitment is to begin dismantling racism in our own hearts and minds. For a long time, we viewed racism as a serious problem that was harming people of color. We did not see it as personal. It was “external.” Now we see that White supremacy is baked into every aspect of our lives and it is harming every one of us. Our wellbeing is deeply connected to the wellbeing of our fellow humans of color. Racism is a burden we are now committed to bearing together, and it can only be lifted if we step up with wholehearted responsibility. This begins with tending to our own suffering with compassion, so that our pain and insecurity doesn’t get flung outward and fuel racism. It also requires a better understanding of our relationship with race, our complicity in a system rife with injustice, and what it actually means and looks like to show up as an ally.
We need to be much more explicit in our actions. Diversity and inclusion have always been embedded in our values, but have not been present in our conversations, our teachings, our daily practice, and our organizational makeup. This must change. We are taking an honest look at how whiteness has shaped Pause and how people of color may not feel welcome. We think it is unacceptable that there is an overt lack of inclusion in mindfulness and wellness communities and we want people of color to feel that they genuinely belong at Pause. We can and will do better.
Moving forward, we promise to be vigilant in awakening to the realities of racism and doing our part to end it. We will hire teachers of color (including but not limited to Black, African, Indigenous, Latino, Asian, and Indian), provide anti-racism programming to our teachers and the Pause community, donate funds to organizations that support communities of color and anti-racism efforts, and keep this crucial work at the forefront of our mission. We are committed to creating a more inclusive space to gather, a pathway for healing, and a resilient community to nurture inner peace and wholeness for everyone.
Most importantly, racism is profoundly at odds with what our hearts know is true: that every human being has unconditional value. We’re all miracles, in whatever way you interpret the word. And we are deeply interconnected. Our work through Pause is to remind ourselves of this connection and to see the beauty – the true, shocking beauty – in ourselves and in each other. It is only from this place of fierce open-heartedness that we can end racism together.
Rena Satre Meloy & Ryan Kenny