Contemplative Education for Racial Justice: Meeting Hate with the Power of Love

Posted on Jun 23, 2015

As President of the Board of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, I write to express my heartbreak over the recent criminal act of hate, terrorism and profound alienation from the sense of Beloved Community that we saw in the shooting that took place last week at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, SC. These events remind us of the particular, ongoing resonance of anti-Black racism among a percentage of people within the American family, and of the vulnerability we all face in a world divided by hard-bounded notions of Self and Other, by “Us” and “Them.” On the other hand, they also remind us of the deeply compassionate responses that can arise to meet even the most heinous violations of trust and communion.

At CMind, we believe that contemplative approaches to education, leadership, and the work of social transformation are crucial to creating the experiences and conditions from which love, compassion and a sense of our inherent interconnectedness naturally arise. On behalf of the Center, and in keeping with our mission to focus on supporting the building of just and accessible communities through our work as contemplative educators, I invite your ongoing reflections, in this space, and wherever you may be, on what we might do more effectively as teachers and learners to support the impulses toward Beloved Community that exist, however unconsciously, in all of us. As inspiration, please consider the statements of forgiveness and love so beautifully displayed among the victims’ families, and others in the Charleston community in response to this incident: http://nyti.ms/1ex1UnN.

As the granddaughter of one of the survivors said so beautifully, “Hate won’t win.” We at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society believe that hate won’t win if we don’t let it, if we support the power of love instead. May we each continue to find the courage to stand against hate when it arises, and to work daily to address the sense of fear and alienation from the world in our own hearts and minds, and in those of the struggling human beings in our midst, such that love rather than hate may find permanent abodes there.

Yours in this very life’s work,

Rhonda Magee
Professor of Law
University of San Francisco


Rhonda V. Magee is professor of law at the University of San Francisco. She teaches contemplative lawyering and is author of “Contemplative Practices and the Renewal of Legal Education” in the book New Directions in Teaching and Learning: Contemplative Studies in Higher Education.

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