Join us for a timely conversation between Rev. Grace Song, James Lynch, and Kosen Gregory Snyder on Immigration Justice and Unconscious Othering.
How often do we turn our attention to unconscious conscription in a momentary way? From the products that we buy, to the ways we speak to loved ones and strangers, and even the thoughts in our minds, we are ascribing to something. Are we aware of what is happening? What is the effect of Americanism on religions originating from outside the United States, such as Buddhism? In the general population, misinformation often preys on immigrant populations, and all of our biases may be contributing to its uptake too. As Buddhist practitioners, addressing this may start with our own awakening and addressing the ‘their/our’ ascriptions where people, especially from immigrant populations, might ask, “What do their issues have to do with us?”.
Rev. Grace Song has been addressing this divisive and exclusionary thinking via our Won Buddhist teachings which advocates community-mindedness based on the idea of inter-connectedness. She has begun the work through discussion and education of our clergy and teachers in North America, and also helped institute formal measures at an organizational level with still so much work to do. She now asks, how can we further educate, evolve, and support each other to become more conscious allies to BI-POC issues?
James A. Lynch is a Dharma Teacher as authorized by the lay Buddhist Organization Rissho Kosei Kai. He is an official representative for their outside affairs in the New York City area, as well as, an official representative for Rissho Kosei Kai to the United Nations. James is currently the President of the Buddhist Council of New York, which represents more than 750,000 Buddhist in the Tri-State area. In addition, he has helped organize the Heiwa Peace Foundation a think tank for peace whose primary work is done in the United States and Asia on behalf of its Founder the Venerable T.K. Nakagaki. He further sits on the Board of Religions for Peace USA which is the largest interfaith peace organization in America and was recently appointed as a Trustee to the prestigious Parliament of World Religions. James is also a tenured professor and Chairman of the Business Management Department in the Koppelman School of Business located at Brooklyn College.
Rev. Grace (Sangjin) Song is the Won Buddhist Studies Department Chair at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies and Buddhist Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania. Rev. Song is an ordained Kyomu in the Won Buddhist tradition. Before joining the Won Institute faculty, she taught at Youngsan University of Seon Studies in Korea. Her research interest includes Women in Buddhism, Interreligious Dialogue, and Contemplative Studies in Higher Education. She presented her research at the International Symposium for Contemplative Research and The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. Rev. Song serves on the Advisory Committee for the GenX Buddhist Teachers Sangha and was recently appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs in Philadelphia. If she’s not on the cushion, you will most likely find her browsing interior design magazines.
*ASL interpretation will be provided!