Jan Willis is professor emerita of religion at Wesleyan University and a visiting professor at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She has studied Buddhism with Tibetan teachers for more than forty years and is the author of the memoir Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist:
‘Being pacifist is not the same as being passive, and being inspired by Buddhist wisdom does not mean that we close our minds and eyes to the rapid changes occurring around us in our society. Whenever anyone proposes to single out any specific category of people—whether by race, or gender, sexual orientation, or religious faith—and to propose a curb on those people’s freedom, that is the beginning of the end of an equitable democracy and the beginning of the slow slide into a loss of freedom for all. To ignore this fact is to deny many of the darkest moments of our history as human beings. On the other hand, a slow but growing acceptance of this state of affairs as being “normal” dooms everyone. It is necessary, therefore, that we keep our eyes opened.
What do we need to do in such dangerous and not-normal times? We need to be vigilant. We need to not normalize what is happening. And we need to not lose hope. If hope seems absent or lacking, we must act to bring it back. In fact, acting, I believe, is the only way to bring hope back. With hope, we can see ourselves as, once again, citizens; as ones with a rightful share in this country, its progress and its stewardship….’
Via Lion’s Roar