The Crim Fitness Foundation values mindfulness as a key strategy to support our ongoing anti-racism work. We wanted to share our reflections on the connections and share related resources and action steps to support racial justice.
There are three critical components the Crim Mindfulness Initiative focuses on cultivating in all the work we do – mindful awareness, courageous connection, and compassionate action.
Here is how we at the Crim see each element relating to racial justice:
- Mindfulness awareness The simplest definition of mindfulness is “to be aware.” In the context of racial justice, this can mean doing the inner work and practice needed to cultivate self-awareness; especially for those of us who are White. We need to become aware of our unconscious bias, unearned privilege, learn more about our country’s historical legacy of oppression, and recognize our current role in continuing systems of oppression and inequity. It is an ongoing process – continual learning and reflection are needed as a daily practice. As the Crim board and CEO’s shared in their statement today, “Mindful awareness of injustice is not enough to create meaningful change. We also need to practice courageous connection and take compassionate action.”
- Courageous connection can mean “listening to communities of color and stepping into conversations with kindness, curiosity and vulnerability knowing we will make mistakes, but stepping in any way with love and connection (Crim board and CEO statement).” In Flint, the past few weeks, we have seen that it takes an extreme amount of courage from the protestors, and perhaps from the police officers as well, to come together peacefully to create change. Mindful listening and speaking are practices that can help support us to be present for one another, more responsive and less reactive so that we can have authentically courageous conversations that move us forward together.
- Compassionate action can mean developing the ability to feel another’s distress, resonate with it emotionally, and distinguish what is yours and what is theirs to do – and then take action to alleviate distress and suffering. There is a lot of compassionate action taking place now, and much more that needs to be done. We support the Black Lives Matter protesters in Flint and the action steps being taken by our mayor, police chief, sheriff and all involved to date to create positive change. We also know there is much more work to do in terms of policies, practices, and systemic changes that will be needed to fully end racism.
A few action steps the Crim is taking to deepen our awareness, connection, and commitment to promoting racial justice that may spark ideas or be of interest to you include:
- Listening to and walking alongside the Black Lives Matters protestors in Flint, learning more about ways to show solidarity, and support proposed action steps towards racial justice in our community.
- Participating in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation efforts led in our community by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
- Attending “Leading Social Transformation: The Inner Work of Racial Justice” featuring Rhonda Magee. You can view this 1-hour webinar for free here. Her book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice is also a helpful guide.
- Exploring and asking the beautiful questions suggested by Michelle Maldonado and her family in A Bridge to Better: A Family’s Open Letter and Invitation to Humanity: A free resource to inspire individual and collective transformation and systemic change.
- Participating in a book study on My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem.
- Sharing the book, “ Something Happened in Our Town” with our children and checking out additional Anti-Racist Children’s Books from the library.
- Listening to the Podcast “1619” and the other recommendations on this list of “21 Podcasts that Confront Racism”
- Re-examining our all of our program policies and practices to see how we can take even further steps to be more actively anti-racist and committing to further training and consulting in these areas.
- Launching a Crim Mindful Fellowship program to engage 18 diverse community leaders to become certified to teach mindfulness in the greater Flint area.
- Drawing from this incredible list of resources and continuing to ensure we are building mindful awareness, cultivating courageous conversations, and taking compassionate actions personally and organizationally.
- Partnering with the City of Flint through the RECAST Initiative to offer support and training for first responders in our community including police, fire, and paramedics.
- Continuing to share free, accessible, and inclusive community offerings to the business, health, civic, education, and community (faith, non-profit, and neighborhood organizations) to support everyone in the greater Flint area who is interested to have access to the workshops we offer.
We can do better. We must do better. To honor George Floyd and the Black lives lost and impacted by racism in our society. George’s 6-year-old daughter recently shared, “ My daddy changed the world.” We must do everything we can to make it so. We invite and encourage your reflections and challenges to us as we all move forward to co-create a more mindful, compassionate, and equitable community.