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Healing + justice

Copper Beech Institute (CBI) believes that the pursuit of justice and the practice of contemplation are intrinsically linked journeys that contribute to the liberation of all beings. To this end, we seek to dismantle systems of oppression and to further healing and justice within and beyond our walls. We recognize that as a result of historically and intentionally constructed systems, many groups, specifically Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), have been excluded from various spaces, including mindfulness and meditation communities. As a community that values awareness, connection, transformation, open-heartedness, and compassionate action above all else, we strive to cultivate an environment where healing and justice is possible for all.

Non-Profit Mindfulness Community

We acknowledge that we live and work on the sacred Indigenous land of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Niantic, Tunxis, and the Quinnipiac, along with other Algonquian-speaking peoples. (See our Land Acknowledgement.) We acknowledge that many of our country’s institutions were built on the backs of enslaved people, specifically Black people and that persons of various identities continue to be oppressed due to their gender, abilities, sexual identities, faith, and more. We acknowledge that the Western mindfulness practices we offer have origins in Asian traditional practices and African Kemetic Yoga. We commit to honoring the wisdom, resilience, and guidance of these communities and of people most impacted by systems of oppression. 

A JOURNEY WITH AN UNLIMITED HORIZON

As a community of contemplative practice, compassion, and peacemaking, we strive to cultivate an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. We aim to foster an atmosphere that is welcoming to all while humbly acknowledging that cultivating greater inclusion is a journey with an unlimited horizon. This journey begins with ourselves and encourages us to look deeply inward and raise awareness of our own views, values, and biases. Through such active reflection, we begin to transform the fears and untruths that often contribute to notions of separation and “otherness” and we begin to value our differences and uniqueness, thus honoring the breadth of our various experiences.

 

We believe that contemplative practice and social justice are interconnected journeys. Mindfulness supports individual transformation by cultivating present-moment awareness in the body and resilience. The practice also supports us to uncover and transform deeply held beliefs and biases. Copper Beech Institute encourages practitioners to take this deeper self-awareness out into the community to engage and bring healing and transformation to society as a whole. 

INTERCONNECTION VERSUS SPIRITUAL BYPASSING

When practicing mindfulness and other contemplative practices, the deep truth of interconnection arises. This realization is important to hold on to, but it becomes spiritual bypass and colorblindness if we do not also recognize and honor the differences between all of us. Especially those differences between those who experience racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. and those who do not.

QUESTIONS WE CONTEMPLATE

 

As we continue to work for healing and justice, we appreciate that questions will consistently outnumber answers and hope our inquiries will foster curiosity, respect, and inclusion. Some ongoing questions in our work towards social justice include:

> How do we practice openness and nurture an environment where everyone (most especially BIPOC) can show up fully with their different experiences?

> How are our lived experiences impacted by our privilege? In what way can we own how our privilege has manifested in this space?

> How do we listen fully and witness one another?

> How do we acknowledge harm when it has been done and let go of defensiveness when we realize we are the ones who caused it?

> How do we acknowledge harm when it has been done, and take accountability for causing the harm?

> Why do we become defensive when we have been identified as causing harm? 

CURRENT HEALING
& JUSTICE WORK

As we move forward with new practices, policies, and initiatives, it is important to look at what work has been done to create an environment of healing, justice, and inclusivity at Copper Beech Institute. The following are initiatives, programs, policies, and practices that have been implemented and adopted at our organization (see our full Accountability Plan here):

 

 

> Healing & Justice Collaborative (HJC)
A multiracial consultative group that meets bi-monthly to give feedback, suggestions, and guidance on Copper Beech’s healing and justice work. ​

> BIPOC Meditation Group
An affinity meditation and support group by and for BIPOC that meets monthly and is led by the co-chairs of the HJC. 

 

> CARE Program
We believe that access to mindfulness practice is a human right. Through CARE, we offer free, twice daily meditation sessions, generous scholarships, and pro bono mindfulness sessions in the community. 

> Social Justice Programming, Observances, & Awareness Months
We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Women’s History Month, Earth Day, Asian-American/Pacific Islander Month, Pride Month, Juneteenth, Latinx Heritage Month, and Indigenous Peoples Month through programs. We also post daily wisdom from Black, Latinx, and Indigenous folks and women and those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community during their respective Awareness Months.  

> Collaborative Programming With Nonprofits Led by BIPOC
and Others Most Impacted By Systems of Oppression
Most recently, we collaborated with One Village Healing to offer Restoring Integral Spirit Energy (RISE), a group focused on helping all to heal from systems of oppression. 

> Mindful of Whiteness
An Anti-Racist Study Group – An 8-month program for white people to gather and educate ourselves on racism and to build resilience to do anti-racism work, offered in 2021. 

 

> Code of Ethics
A document created by Copper Beech staff, facilitators, HJC members, and the board that outlines our ethical commitments as an organization. 

> Tiered Pricing Structure & Scholarships
To ensure access for as many people as possible, we offer a tiered pricing structure for all programs and offer between $50K-$100K in scholarship funding each year. We have specific scholarship funding ear-marked for BIPOC participants, though one of the goals of this plan is to increase and set specific targets for this particular funding. 

> BIPOC Fellowships for Mindfulness Facilitator
Ce
rtification (MFC) program
part of our annual scholarship funding is earmarked for BIPOC wishing to attend our MFC program. Our 2nd MFC cohort began in March 2022. 

> Anti-Oppression Training
Annually, CBI offers at least one anti-oppression training to all facilitators, staff members, board members, and volunteers. Much of this training has been offered by National Conference on Community and Justice (NCCJ) and has focused on antiracism, whiteness, and white privilege. Other trainings include mental health topics, trauma-sensitivity, and creating affirming spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+-identified folks. 

> Paid Holidays
In addition to other major holidays, our team has paid time off for Earth Day, Juneteenth, Indigenous People’s Day so that they might celebrate with friends and family on these days and/or participate in educational activities and programming. We do not celebrate Columbus Day. 

A note from the Copper Beech Institute staff: This statement is a living document. We recognize our understandings of social justice issues will continue to evolve over time and that the words shared here may require changing. We welcome feedback and request the support of others in guiding us along the path of liberation. 

Mindfulness Programs at the Labyrinth

HEALING & JUSTICE SCHOLARSHIP FUND

As stated above, Copper Beech Institute is dedicated to furthering healing and justice within and beyond our walls. We recognize that as a result of historically and intentionally constructed systems, many groups, specifically Black, Indigenous, and people of color, have been excluded from various spaces, including mindfulness and meditation communities. 

 

In the United States, a large and disproportionate financial burden has been placed on BIPOC due to historic and present-day discriminatory practices. In light of this, we have created the Healing & Justice Scholarship Fund to support BIPOC in accessing mindfulness and other contemplative practices. 

We neither assume all BIPOC require financial assistance, nor do we believe white practitioners are less worthy of such support. Rather, in creating this fund we acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and commit to using our resources to lessen the disproportionate financial burden that has been placed on BIPOC for generations. 

If you identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color, we wholeheartedly invite you to apply for this scholarship and would be honored to have you visit us. You can do so by reaching out to our Program Administrator at info@copperbeechinstitute.org. Much peace to you. 

Join Our Mindfulness Community

TURN YOUR PRACTICE INTO ACTION! 🧡 

CREATE A MORE JUST AND HARMONIOUS WORLD BY HELPING US SHARE MINDFULNESS WITH ALL

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