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Lions Roar : July 2018
Creating safe spaces for people of differing needs and backgrounds to come together requires a lot of care about communication styles and how people interact. EBMC offers guidelines to navigate this via its “Agreements for Multicultural Interactions,” a list of best practices posted on its walls. “These agreements are based in an understanding of how people of goodwill, when we gather together, almost certainly will uncon- sciously replicate the forms of dominance, oppression, and harm in the wider community and society, just because that’s the default,” says Ikeda, “unless there are interventions, agreements, and practi- ces that begin to change that status quo very consciously.” The agreements include being willing to try ways of doing things that might not be what you prefer or are familiar with, not speaking for the group, understanding the difference between intent and impact, and using the word “and” instead of “but” in order to acknowledge and honor multiple realities. The agreements also ask that people refrain from blaming or shaming themselves and others, to consider “moving back” if you tend to speak often, to practice mindful listening, to respect the confidentiality of those in the room, and to know you have the right to pass if you don’t wish to speak. “The agreements are a way we’re creating structures that EBMC teachers Mushim Ikeda, Shahara Godfrey, and Larry Yang. Until they came to EMBC, many meditators had never been taught by people of their own identity group. PHOTOS(LTOR)BYMJMONT-REYNAUD,SCOTTHOLLOWAY,TWOIRISESPHOTOBYJUSTINPICKARD Larry Yang was voted Community Grand Marshall of the 2016 San Francisco Pride Parade. He says his election was a sign that contemporary Buddhism crosses cultural boundaries. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2018 39