In 1963, in the summer before I graduated from college, I spent three weeks in a voter registration project in Greensboro, North Carolina, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. I joined a group of about 20 Black and white college students. We were housed in the basement of a Black church and went door-to-door to encourage African-Americans to register to vote. I have never forgotten how precious and precarious is the right to vote. Getting out the vote continues to be of vital importance.
In recent years many Zen Buddhist practitioners have organized election sesshins in swing states. This year, leaders and members of sanghas across the country are participating in online election retreats. Individual and groups of sangha members can participate in these letter-writing efforts to get out the vote. You can find more information at https://www.electionretreat.org/
In response to the climate crisis, the Shogaku Zen Institute is offering a 13-week course in Eco-Dharma, beginning September 10th, led by David Loy and Kritee (Kanko). Some questions the course will address include:
- How can we respond urgently and effectively to the ongoing climate emergency and the larger ecological crisis—and stay sane doing it?
- How do we understand the interconnection of environmental degradation with colonialism, racism and neoliberal economics?
- What contemplative/spiritual principles and perspectives can help us forge a response to our ecological predicament?
In case you missed it, I’m mentioning again Thomas Bruner’s Fundraising for Buddhists class, offered by Houston Zen Center, three sessions beginning September 1st. For a description or to register, go to: https://houstonzen.org/events-calendar/2020/9/1-september-fundraising-for-buddhists
Jon Voss continues to generously offer his weekly Zoom drop-in clinics, Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific time.
I’d like to end with words from the late John Lewis, in a statement he wrote just before he died in July, “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”