Our working group received two competitive grants from the Center for Race and Ethnicity (CRE2) to support our expanded engagement and focused study of the role that mindfulness can play in anti-racism efforts, by increasing health equity and enhancing psychological well-being. A central goal will be to explore the role that mindfulness can play in reducing racial bias among dominant groups. Additionally, we will explore the use of mindfulness-related tools to combat health disparities, by reducing discomfort with interracial interactions, and increasing bias awareness. A key question that we plan to investigate is whether there are barriers in current mindfulness practices, structured interventions, and dissemination routes that reduce the accessibility and awareness of these practices to under-served and under-represented communities. In particular, some leading thinkers in this area have suggested the need to ‘decolonize’ mindfulness, through progressive approaches that respect cultural traditions and practices of BIPOC groups.
A second grant will support the development of a series on Mindfulness and Anti Racism talks and panel discussions. Our inaugural talk and panel discussion took place on April 30th, 2021 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. CST with Rhonda Magee. A second talk, titled “How to Fight Injustice Without Hating: Connecting Mindfulness with Social Justice,” will feature speaker Valerie Brown took place on Sept. 10th, 2021. We aim for the series to continue through the 2022 academic year and beyond. We have a long list of speakers we would love to be a part of the series. There are many amazing people working in this area, and we are hoping to feature as many of them as possible with the continued support of the university.