Statement of Solidarity: Zendo Project Stands Against Systemic Racism and for Justice and Healing

MAPS Bulletin Spring 2020: Vol. 30, No. 2

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During this time of extreme crisis, the Zendo Project stands in solidarity with those protesting against racism, white supremacy, structural violence, and police brutality. To our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities—we stand with you. Black lives matter.

Systemic racism and the resulting trauma embedded in individuals, communities, and institutions has deep transgenerational roots. The eradication of racist systems requires activism and reform. It also requires personal and interpersonal healing. As we do the outer work, we must do the inner work, and work to integrate the two. We must simultaneously excavate and understand how we as individuals and as communities are perpetuating and benefiting from racist structures.

When done safely and responsibly, psychedelic experiences can help people become aware of the web of interconnection that exists between all human beings, as well as the entrenched and learned systems of violence that exist within that web. However, it is not enough just to become aware of this interconnection. Our actions must integrate our awareness of collective suffering— to be whole as a community we must integrate our shadows.

For those of us who are not BIPOC, this means using our voice and our privilege to stand with, and speak up in solidarity with, and to learn to step back and listen to BIPOC communities. We must work to heal our own intergenerational trauma so as not to continue to perpetuate systems of oppression.

We can learn to observe our own reactions. Commit to turning toward what is happening and not away. Feeling our discomfort. Feeling our defensiveness. These are symptoms of deeply embedded racism. If we feel frozen, numb, or overwhelmed, and don’t know what to do or how to help, this is a sign to dig deeper into ourselves. It is okay to be afraid, angry, sad, ashamed, or uncertain what to do. But we will not allow our work to stop there.

We invite you to join us in this commitment to anti-racism and collective liberation. Let your internal reactions lead you to your place of grief. Follow the threads of emotion, not just intellectually but in your body. Seek support from therapists and healers who have done their own personal anti-racist work. Work to connect with and heal your own ancestors and lineage. Do not rely on the emotional labor of your friends of color for your healing and education regarding racism. There are many existing resources available for this purpose.

Activism and anti-racist work requires digging into the tangled roots of racism as they live in us, feeling the pain and suffering that is there, and in doing so making space for love, compassion, understanding, and humility. From there, you will know where you are needed and what gifts you can lend to this movement.

The Zendo Project commits to doing the ongoing work of collective liberation, and humbly acknowledges we have much work to do. We are committed to continuing to deepen our individual and organizational anti-racist practices and consciousness.

The Zendo Project is a program of the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). View MAPS’ Statement of Solidarity on the MAPS website: maps.org/statement-of-solidarity