Buddhism, Oppression, and Justice

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Rhonda Magee, Rima Vesely-Flad and Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Buddhism, Oppression, and Justice

What You'll Learn

Can Buddhism and mindfulness contribute to the pressing conversations and activist movements regarding racial oppression and social justice in our time? In this powerful event, summit host and social justice activist Ayo Yetunde facilitates a conversation between Rhonda Magee, author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness and Rima Veseley-Flad, author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice, on the topics of dharma practice, oppression, and justice. In a conversation filled with tenderness, humor, strength, and love, the panelists discuss topics including how awareness practices can help us understand the causes of oppression and the intersection of spiritual support and racial activism.

About Rhonda Magee

Rhonda Myozen V. Magee, M.A., J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, and has spent more than twenty years exploring the intersections of anti-racist education, social justice, and contemplative practices. She is an internationally-recognized innovator, storyteller, thought and practice leader on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice, and author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness (Penguin RandomHouse TarcherPerigee: 2019).

You can learn more about her work on her website which serves as a resource and online community hub focused on engaged mindfulness.

About Rima Vesely-Flad

Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD is an Associate Professor of Religion and Social Justice and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice and is currently writing Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (NYU Press, 2021).

Find a free talk with Dr. Vesely-Flad on Learning About Black Buddhist Dharma Teachers and Healing Justice here.

About Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, JD, ThD is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist. She is a chaplain and pastoral counselor, co-founder of Center of the Heart, a spiritual wellness organization that focuses on body, behavior, and beliefs. She is also founder of Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer. Ayo has written for Lion's Roar magazine and has published other books on Buddhism.

Ayo's articles on Buddhism can be found on Lion's Roar and Ayo's books can be found here.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!


  1. Nilam Moorcroft February 19, 2021 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Such a wonderful gift- thank you for your clarity and the truth you all speak from vulnerability.As a 67 year anniversary old woman of Asian origin who has lived in U.K. for most of my adult life, I very much resonated with the descriptions of the ongoing inner work which Rhonda and Rima described so clearly.Your voices are so important and necessary at this time!

  2. Marianna February 19, 2021 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you all for sharing so much from your hearts and minds. It’s a really generous offering and I feel deeply moved listening to you.

  3. jill iles February 19, 2021 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I would like to hear their take on non-duality (Advaita). Thank you.

  4. Madeleine Jacobs MD February 19, 2021 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Thank you, you beautiful, eloquent women!

  5. Shawna Wakefield February 19, 2021 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this conversation. As a sister Black and mixed race woman, I appreciated and resonated with the vulnerability it takes to recognize and share about our internalized racism, grief at not knowing specifics of our ancestry and history, and the critical importance of community. Rima, we have only spoken after days of silence on retreat, and it’s wonderful to learn about your work and hear your voice. Thank you.

  6. Eric Laufe February 19, 2021 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    As a white, male Dharma practitioner of forty years (in the Tibetan tradition) who is finally extricating himself from the delusion of race, I salute you beautiful, powerful warrior women of color. My life has been changed by knowing some of you. I fully believe Black women Dharma practitioners will be instrumental in dissolving the pernicious myth of White supremacy. Thank you.

  7. antonieta February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    First, I’m profoundly grateful for the words and concepts shared during this talk. They have provided some answers to something I have been searching for for years which is how can I do political work, especially anti-racist and practice Buddhism. While I may forget most of what the two presenters said, it has shed a light on my path. De todo corazón, gracias!

  8. Ilene February 20, 2021 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Beautiful, touching, hopeful

  9. Berni Cavanagh February 20, 2021 at 10:23 am - Reply

    So very precious to have these sessions shared with me as a white person – and an overwhelming sense of joy springs from this session – your sisterhood, the joy of Dharma practise. Exploring vulnerabilities together – thank you thank you thank you

  10. Kiki February 20, 2021 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I think that for me in the beginning of my dharmic practice, though I wholeheartedly resonated with foundational Buddhism, I lacked a particular language to express the why and how my resonance manifested. It took a long time for me to find out that the language of Blackness – both in my own lived experience and implicit/explicit cultural storytelling – was lacking… maybe sometimes intentionally and maybe sometimes unintentionally to make the Tibetan culture (and sometimes the white college educated culture) the aspirational culture with which to experience Dharma. In listening to this and the opening call, I’ve had a lot of “mmm-hmm” explosions that seem to truly unlock the joy of practicing and sharing Dharma, especially as felt through & directed by my Black-American body.

    Thank you.

  11. Lisa February 20, 2021 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Gratitude beyond measure! Thank you for your open hearts, your deep explorations, your clarity and your sharing. I identify as 72 year old black embodied female gendered seeker. My journey has taken me from childhood through predominately white places and spaces all my life. Through different churches, religious traditions and practices I traveled, stopped and stayed awhile, listening, learning but at a certain point always felt I had to move on. A number of years ago committing to a yoga led to Buddha. Now with a sanga that is led by a white practitioner and where I am one of an occasional second I find myself with one foot in and one foot out. Hearing your voices, thoughts, and seeing your faces particularly as black women is rescuing me. I don’t know that a poc sanga exists in my immediate area but I hope to find one.
    May you be happy, may you be well, may you be safe. Namaste

  12. Ruth Klein February 20, 2021 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    I wish you/we could continue too… THANK YOU for your openness, clarity, and generosity of spirit. So much of what you have shared resonates so deeply within me, an almost 75 year old first generation American (with frizzy hair that I tried desperately to “fix” until I was in my late 20’s) whose parents escaped Hitler’s Europe. I would so much like to continue… and to have a venue for sharing all this touches in me. Palms Together.

  13. Tim Blood February 20, 2021 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you. Deep learning and appreciation for each of you.

  14. Sasa Makhanya February 21, 2021 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for inviting us to such an incredible path of spiritual transforming knowledge. Am deeply grateful to have been part of this learning and I intend to pass your spiritual resonance to my friends and family. Your teaching will undoubtedly enable all of you to grow to the highest summits. My heartfelt gratitude.

  15. Chandna Watagodakumbura February 21, 2021 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ayo, Rhonda and Rima, for this deeply engaging discussion.

  16. Katharina Wohlberg February 28, 2021 at 6:16 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this summit!
    I am a white female psychotherapist from germany; I work with traumatized patients and try to apply awareness and compassion wherever I can (within myself and in contact with the world).
    I think it is so important that we share the feeling and knowing of interconnectedness, for being human, for being vulnerable and resiliant at the same time. And to learn from each other and our individual and collective history. This summit is a great chance for that learning – thank you!

  17. Solange February 28, 2021 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Thank you very much, I’m in Brazil in the horrible context of Covid amid so much anger and intolerance, this conversation was a light in my day

  18. Abigail Hamilton February 28, 2021 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    You are some of the most generous teachers I’ve ever heard. I am buying and reading your books.

  19. Annie Mahon March 14, 2021 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you. This was beautiful and will benefit so many people.

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