Vote for a WSUU Congregational Read

WSUU is going to offer a congregational read for 2021-22, and we want your input on the books you think we should engage with as a community. Each of the proposed books is available from the Seattle Public Library or King County Library, as well as local booksellers. Regardless which book is selected, participants will have the chance to engage in either discussion groups or self-directed reading reflections with guiding resources.

The three proposed books are (descriptions are from GoodReads):

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

By Resmaa Menakem

The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society.

In this groundbreaking work, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of body-centered psychology. He argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police.

My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.

This book paves the way for a new, body-centered understanding of white supremacy—how it is literally in our blood and our nervous system. It offers a step-by-step solution—a healing process—in addition to incisive social commentary.

Listen to Resmaa Menakem on OnBeing with Krista Tippett

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation

By angel Kyodo Williams and Lama Rod Owens, with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD

Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening.

The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation that brings together the Black prophetic tradition and the wisdom of the Dharma. Bridging the world of spirit and activism, they urge a compassionate response to the systemic, state-sanctioned violence and oppression that has persisted against Black people since the slave era. With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, “Radical Dharma” demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah represent a new voice in American Buddhism. Offering their own histories and experiences as illustrations of the types of challenges facing dharma practitioners and teachers who are different from those of the past five decades, they ask how teachings that transcend color, class, and caste are hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance.

Their illuminating argument goes beyond a demand for the equality and inclusion of diverse populations to advancing a new dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies systems of suffering and prepares us to weigh the shortcomings not only of our own minds but also of our communities. They forge a path toward reconciliation and self-liberation that rests on radical honesty, a common ground where we can drop our need for perfection and propriety and speak as souls.

Listen to Rev. angel Kyodo Williams on OnBeing with Krista Tippett

Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm

By Kazu Haga

Activists and social change agents, restorative justice practitioners, faith leaders, and anybody engaged in social progress and shifting society will find this mindful approach to nonviolent action indispensable.

Nonviolence was once considered the highest form of activism and radical change. And yet its basic truth, its restorative power, has been forgotten. In Healing Resistance, leading Kingian Nonviolence trainer Kazu Haga blazingly reclaims the energy and assertiveness of nonviolent practice (utilized by the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter), and proves that nonviolent civil resistance remains the most effective strategy for social change in hostile times.

With over 20 years of experience practicing and teaching Kingian Nonviolence, Haga offers us the practical approach to societal conflict first begun by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, which has been developed into a fully workable, step-by-step training and deeply transformative philosophy. Kingian Nonviolence takes on the timely issues of endless protest and activist burnout, and presents tried-and-tested strategies for staying resilient, creating equity, and restoring peace.

Listen to Kazu Haga on the Metta Center for Nonviolence Podcast


Vote for Congregational Read

I would like to read...
Which book would you most like to read as the WSUU Congregational Read 2021?
I would be willing to read...
Maybe it'll be my preferred book, maybe it won't, but I'd be willing to read... (check all that apply)
Discussion Groups
Would you like to attend a monthly discussion group (as yet unscheduled), or would you prefer to do reflection on your own (for which we'll provide resources)?

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