Message in the Wake of George Floyd’s Killing

Message in the Wake of George Floyd’s Killing

The horrific killing of George Floyd is heartbreaking. For the loss and unimaginable sorrow of his family and community, I offer my condolences. To Black people in the United States who live every day with the real possibility of violence, police brutality, and an ongoing onslaught of racism, we at IMC regret we have not done more to counter the tide of rising racism.

The heart-wrenching police brutality toward peaceful protestors reveals the very deep wound that racism is for our nation. It is a wound we all share. It is a wound we all perpetuate when we allow it to further divide us from each other. It is a wound that cannot be healed until all white Americans take our share of responsibility for its healing.

Insight Meditation Center is committed to being in solidarity with all Black Americans experiencing oppression, injustice, and prejudice. We aim to be a community opposed to racism everywhere, including in our own midst. Future generations should not have to struggle with racism that is passed on from our generation. We can be part of the effort to end racism.

The primary contribution that IMC can offer toward healing racism is our spiritual practice. Our practice begins with introspection that leads to ethical action in the world. It is a sacred process that can help to heal wounded hearts, prevent reacting from our pain and ignorance, and support us to act with deep care and respect for everyone. It is a practice which, by its very nature of leading to inner freedom, calls on us to understand, clearly see, and step away from even the slightest ways we diminish the freedom of others.

To grow in mindfulness and compassion is to grow in our ability to bear witness to the cumulative pain of racism that for too many people is a daily occurrence. To bear witness is to be willing to learn about racism, including recognizing how, often unconsciously, it exists in us as individuals and in IMC as a community. To bear witness means to be willing to listen deeply to everyone’s experiences of suffering from racism, oppression, and marginalization.

I hope that those who have been practicing at IMC understand that our practice has always been a preparation for meeting the challenges of our world. We practice so we can contribute to the welfare, safety, and happiness of all beings, which includes ending the harm of racism. We practice so we can live with love for all people with no one left out of our hearts.

Gil Fronsdal

The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy. 

Martin Luther King 

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.  

James Baldwin


From downtown Redwood City. Written as a police officer recited names from memory: