Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership: A Branching Streams Online Course

Six 2hr sessions on alternate Saturdays (3-5pm CDT) from July 25th - October 3rd.

***UPDATE***: Registrations for the Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership from a Buddhist Perspective course have poured in and the course is at its capacity. We closed registration today and are taking names for a waiting list.  I know this will be disappointing news to some of you. Crystal is looking into the possibility of offering a second course starting later and I (Tova Green) will keep you posted. If you would like to be on the waiting list please fill out the registration form. The link is: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Xk35dishqaIRKl4Gz85BDvDt-QycwkDE_rIkeKHHLtw/edit


This is a time in America when white people’s awareness of the terrible impact of racial inequity has increased dramatically in the context of the pandemic and following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.  As dharma practitioners and leaders, how can we use the energy of this time to confront and address the suffering of racial injustice and move toward greater inclusiveness and racial equity in our sanghas?  

Branching Streams seeks to address this question through a new course, Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership, designed for dharma practitioners and leaders who wish to promote, nurture and maintain a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.  

Goals of the course:

  • Come together as a supportive community of white practitioners and leaders to explore the dynamics and impact of whiteness from the personal to the systemic levels
  • Increase awareness of the ways our behaviors, values, social norms and leadership practices perpetuate the status quo, and explore alternatives.
  • Work together to develop new leadership practices that will support greater inclusiveness in our sanghas.
  • Explore the Buddhist practices that nurture us and sustain our capacity to take action for change.  

The course is led by Crystal Johnson (see bio below), and will meet for six two-hour sessions on alternate Saturday afternoons (every 2 weeks) beginning July 25th. The suggested donation is between $50 – 250. All proceeds of the course will go to the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA or to another POC-led organization working for social justice.

The Austin Zen Center encourages our members to participate in this course and will support those in financial need. Please contact AZC Admin Julie Strahan to request a scholarship.

For maximum benefit we recommend that two or more members of each sangha participate. There is a limit to the number of participants. Please note that this course is not limited to practitioners who identify as white. BIPOC folks are also welcome to participate!

Many sanghas have already begun this work, and may wish to participate as a way of diving deeper. We hope this course will speak to your needs and concerns at this time and welcome your comments or questions about this offering.

Contact Theresa Bouza for more information.

REGISTER by Friday 7/10/20 

* Please note that if multiple members of a sangha wish to participate, each person needs to complete a registration form.

Crystal A. JohnsonCrystal A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Crystal is a dharma practitioner and teacher who has co-created, and co-teaches programs for white dharma practitioners seeking to build awareness, knowledge and skills to challenge the dynamics of white privilege and race-based oppression, and to create truly diverse sangha. Programs include White and Awakening in Sangha , a six month program at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA, Interconnected: Challenging Racism and White Privilege with Mindfulness and Compassion, an 8 session course at the San Francisco Zen Center, and Unpacking Whiteness, a 5 session course offered by the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.  She also consults to (white-dominated) organizations seeking to identify and address barriers to racial equity embedded in organizational culture, policies and practices.

Crystal is a recently-retired psychologist with many years of program, clinical and financial management experience. Her last decade of clinical work focused on teaching clinical work as a social justice practice to student clinicians working in public schools, homeless drop-in centers and the county jail. She is a graduate of the Commit2Dharma study program at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), and of the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP4) and the Community Dharma Leader (CDL5) Program offered by Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  She holds her teaching as a reparations practice, seeking to redress the harm of race-based oppression, and donates all proceeds of the courses to the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA or to another POC-led organization working for social justice.  She can be contacted at cjohnson21@earthlink.net.