A Chronology of Common Ground’s work around Difference, Privilege, and Oppression

Better understanding our cultural conditioning and our experiences of difference, privilege, and oppression – an imperfect recollection of Common Ground’s history of engaging these important places of practice:

  • January 2017 – How the Dharma Helps Us Recognize and Relinquish the White Racial Frame: A Class with Patrice Koelsch
  • January 2017 – Community Conversation with Santikaro: Identities & Exclusions, Us Vs. Them
  • September 2016 – Presentation by Mindy Zlotnick: I Will Not Pass Away….Reinstating the Buddha’s Vision of Gender Equity
  • September 2016- Okogyeamon, co-founder of ASDIC (Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle) leads workshop entitled Social Justice, Core, and Being
  • August 2016 – Shelly Graf and Gabe Keller lead 3-week Racism and Awakening class.
  • July 2016 – Breathing Through the Whole (Racialized) Body: An Embodied Approach to Exploring Racial Privilege: A Workshop with Terri Karis
  • June 2016 – Community Conversation with scottie hall: Buddhism and Polyamory
  • April 2016 – We Make the Road by Walking: A Workshop for Artists, Activists, and Community Builders with Louis Alemayehu
  • April 2016 – Workshop with Terri Karis: Waking Up to Whiteness: Exploring How to Skillfully and Compassionately Address Race
  • March 2016 – Community Conversation: Connecting the 5 Precepts to our Work of Undoing Racism with Shelly Graf and Nora Murphy
  • January 2016 – Board approves new Principles and Practices statement: Responding Directly to the suffering in our world with compassion: We are devoted to walking alongside each other with interest and compassion as we wake up to the unequal, and yet interrelated, experiences of privilege and oppression in our relationships, institutions, and communities. We understand that this wise and fearless opening to the real pain and confusion in our world is a difficult and necessary process in addressing the roots of suffering.
  • January 2016 – Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle (ASDIC) 10-week course at Common Ground for 29 staff, teachers, and leaders
  • January 2016 – Santikaro leads Community Conversation on Socially Engaged Practice: Towards Dhamma-Centered Living
  • November 2015 – scottie hall and Shelly Graf lead Community Conversation on Sexism and Patriarchy
  • October 2015 – We Make the Road by Walking: A Workshop for Activists, Artists, and Community Builders led by Louis Alemayehu, Simone Rendon and Beatriz Lusicano
  • Summer 2015 – Portion of donations from weekly practice groups for a week is donated to support the black churches that were burned. Some of the money is also given to Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. Femi Akinnagbe and Louis Alemayehu subsequently lead mindfulness training for NOC.
  • August 2015 – Gabe Keller gives talk on Race, Sex, and Misery
  • August 2015 – Arinna Weisman offered a weekend of programs including an extremely well-attended daylong workshop for white folks and a community conversation for everyone co-facilitated by Meski Mebatsion.
  • July 2015 – Community Conversation on Classism led by Nils Heyman
  • June 2015 – Board decides to schedule in an ongoing way time to learn and discuss issues concerning race, difference, privilege, and accessibility within our hearts and the world.
  • June 2015 – Community Conversation on Microaggressions, Facilitated by Nicole Taras, Meski Mebatsion, Louis Alemayehu, Lance Hegland, and Galen Smith.
  • March 2015 – Terri Karis leads a three-week class: Understanding our (Racial) Selves: Racial Moments as Spiritual Practice
  • February 2015 – Inclusivity Advisory Group is formed
  • Jan. 2015 – Santikaro facilitates community conversation on the interdependence of social and personal transformation
  • Nov. 2014 – Nils Heyman speaks for two nights on Waking Up – Learning to See What We Don’t See
  • Nov. 2014 – Gabe Keller and Stacy McClendon are elected to CG Board of Directors
  • July 2014 – Board has a facilitated conversation led by Jean Choe regarding issues of Inclusivity, Accessibility and Privilege
  • June 2014 – David Loy and Santikaro speak on the intersection of Dharma Practice and Social/Political Engagement
  • April 2014 – Workshop with Alex Haley, Tommy Lee Woon and Aya Kasai: Touching the Heart of Truth and Reconciliation – A Workshop to Honor Nelson Mandela
  • March 2014 – Facilitators of the Inclusivity Circle receive training from Jna Shelomith on how to lead difficult conversations
  • December 2013 – Larry Yang gives public talk
  • July 2013 – Gabe Keller (CG first Intern) creating a web page of resources for community members who wish to educate themselves around these issues.
  • July 2013 – LGBTQ community group Dharma Core begins meeting at CG.
  • June 2013 – The Queer Health and Well-Being community group begins
  • April 2013 – Larry Yang gave public talk and led Community Conversation on Community
  • December 2012 – Unraveling Privilege Community Group begins
  • November 2012 – People of Color Community Group begins
  • November 2012 – Mark revises Principles and Practices to begin to reflect community values around inclusivity
  • December 2011 – First Inclusivity Circle
  • Fall 2011 – The ethics of service discussions with CG Teachers and leaders
  • Fall 2011 – Conversations with Tom and Jamie about inviting Larry Yang to teach at CG.
  • Spring 2011 – Invitation to Gina Sharpe to lead discussion around issues of inclusivity
  • 2010? – Gay Men’s Community Group begins
  • March 2009 – Regular program begins for children, pre teens and teens. The center becomes more accessible to families with children and people with different physical abilities.
  • 2007-2008 – CG absorbed in renovating new building
  • Fall 2006 – Conversations about how purchasing the Templar building would support a more inclusive community.
  • 2005? – Rita Gross begins offering her class on Buddhism and Gender
  • 2005/06 – First Inclusivity Circle Discussion
  • 2004 or 2005 – Patrice Koelsch and Wendy Morris invited to initiate a community discussion