It is not business as usual for us here at Omstars. We are grateful to and for our community of teachers, staff and leaders within and outside of the Yoga community for all that has been shared, expressed and spoken out about the murder of Black human beings, the systematic racism that continues to pervade the U.S, and the devastating impact these horrific events have on BIPOC individuals, community and the communities across the globe.
We are actively taking steps to help support and
raise up the community around us.
We may not get it right all the time, but we are committed to doing everything we can to share, to take action, and be part of the solutions that help create much-needed change. The changes needed are not only towards larger governmental and societal change but within the yoga and wellness communities. There are barriers to entry for BIPOC teachers, leaders, and experts that should not exist. We want to be part of breaking these down and lifting up the voices, initiatives, and programs of these individuals.
We are also grateful and truly honored to share the teaching and work of so many strong voices within the BIPOC community and want to continue to share their voices. We commit to the continuation of sharing our space and platform to write or speak, teach, anything that BIPOC teachers and leaders feel would help to elevate, amplify and empower their voices and the initiatives and efforts they have been working on for many years. In an effort to continue to do better and to be a better ally for the community, we are actively seeking out and speaking with teachers and yoga community leaders within the Black, Indigenous and People of Color community to host talks and teach more classes on Omstars.
There is always more to be done, and we commit to listening to and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. We are a platform that shares practices and teachings that help heal, develop compassion, empathy, and connection. But these teaching must also come from many voices, backgrounds, and people in order to honor traditional origins and cultural roots and history of Yoga. And, these voices must also come from a multitude of backgrounds so that the ways in which we can use these practices to heal, can be done so within the content of varying experiences, histories, and lives. We a currently working alongside Susanna Barkataki, learning a lot as we do, and will be releasing a series of articles that she has developed on Yoga and Cultural Appropriation.
Yoga and mindfulness practices are not separate from the socio-political realm, because racism, prejudice, and marginalization take place within the world of yoga too. We commit to doing everything it takes truly to become an ally for marginalized yoga community members. There is no performance here. We are prepared to do the work. Yoga is for EVERYONE and our mission from day 1 was to make the traditional practice of yoga available to every single person around the world. That has not changed. What has changed is how we show up, who we work with and alongside, and rather than taking a leadership role, we take the role of the learner, the listener, and amplifying voices other than our own.
Most recently, we raised $7890 during our summer sale and have since split the donation funds between the Global Fund For Women and NAACP Empowerment Programs. A big thank you to our incredible community of members, we couldn’t have done this without them. Additionally, we are sourcing supportive and educational courses for our team here at Omstars so that we can better show up for each other, our community of teachers, and for each and every member, student, and each person that we encounter. We will continue to update this blog as we take new action steps to better support the BIPOC community (most recent update August 26th, 2020).
Lastly, we’re working on creating an ever-expanding resource list. This, like our action steps, is a living document that we will continue to expand and grow. If you have recommendations or resources you think we should add to this list, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not the experts, and so we defer to the expertise, knowledge, and experience of many inspiring and hardworking community leaders and organizations.
Educate and Stay Informed
Books To Read
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
How to be an antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
Me and white supremacy by Layla F Saad
Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I’m still here: Black dignity in a world made for whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
Why are all the blacks kids sitting together in the cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Accounts to Follow
If you decide to follow more BIPOC leaders and community members to your social media feed, make sure that your first step after hitting follow is to learn about their boundaries, their community framework, and expectations. Most of these individuals have been doing this work for a long, long time. They are not here to meet our needs, expectations, or to answer our questions. It is up to US to learn, to find resources, to use google, and to find answers. WE must do the work, support their work, sign up for their courses, and donate to their causes.
Websites and References:
Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Warner
Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews
Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love
By Kino & the Omstars Team