The following letter was written by Robb Kushner, an Order of Interbeing Aspirant. Robb has given permission to post and share this very instructive and thoughtful statement.
Letter to Sen. Cory Booker – On a National Resolution of Atonement
Jersey City, NJ 07302
14 August 2017
The Honorable Cory Booker
359 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Booker:
The tragic events in Charlottesville this past week have caused me to revisit a powerful idea: a National Resolution of Atonement – and I want to share this with you in the hopes that you may want to bring it up in Congress.
It is time for our country to officially atone for the twin atrocities of centuries of unconscionable subjugation of Native Americans – including stealing their lands – along with the tragic enslavement with ensuing subjugation of African Americans.
The Germans have atoned for their perpetration of The Holocaust. We as a nation desperately need to face up to these tragic elements of our past.
In atoning for these twin atrocities that have been an integral part of our history, we can send a message to the world and to all future generations that we are indeed fully dedicated to the immortal declaration that “all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
We are truly a nation of immigrants, and this has always been our key strength and point of uniqueness. We need to celebrate the diversity across our land that makes us such a blessed country.
In addition, by adopting this kind of national atonement, we will send a clear and unequivocal message that racism and bigotry will never be tolerated – in any manner – in our national dialogue, including public displays and assemblies.
I trust that you will give this idea the kind of serious consideration it deserves. And I hope to hear your thoughts in response.
With deep gratitude for your dedicated service to our state and country,
With copies to:
Sen. Bob Menendez
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Kamala Harris
Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Chris Van Hollen
In addition to the letter, the following practice statement from ARISE (Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity) is very relevant to this topic.
GATHA FOR HEALING RACIAL, SYSTEMIC, AND SOCIAL INEQUITY: Aware of the suffering caused by racial, systemic, and social inequities, we commit ourselves, individually and as a community, to understanding the roots of these inequities, and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding and love in action. As a global community of practitioners, we are aware of the disproportionate racial violence and oppression committed by institutions and by individuals, whether consciously or unconsciously, against African Americans and people of color across the United States and beyond. We know that by looking deeply as individuals and as a community, we can engage the collective wisdom and energy of the Sangha to be our foundation for Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, and Right Insight. These are the practices leading to nondiscrimination, non-harming, and non-self which heal ourselves and the world.