Dear Ayurveda Community,
We greet you in this historic moment with the understanding that there is no such thing as neutral right now, and silence equates to complicity with oppressive forces.
The systemic racism and police brutality which has been part of the United States story from the very beginning is on display as never before and therefore facing unprecedented and very necessary pushback.
As Āyurvedic professionals, we see the unbroken link between contemporary events and the violent colonial powers that imposed their influence on the Indian sub-continent, beginning approximately in the 16th century and remaining embedded to this very day.
It is a troubling truth that we in the West get to benefit from the priceless cultural heritage of India (Yoga, Āyurveda, Jyotish, Kirtan, et cetera ad infinitum) as a direct result of imperial colonialism which destroyed and distorted much of that very culture.
We want to express our endless gratitude for the lineage of Vaidyas and the advocates for all forms of indigenous medicine, without whose dedication and perseverance in the face of overwhelming socio-cultural forces we individually and collectively would be severely depleted.
And, as we observe a parallel in the historical plight of dark-skinned humans in the United States, as their personal and cultural wealth has been consistently appropriated by the dominant white society even while that same society has brutally enslaved, criminalized and forced black bodies to perform the labor of creating unprecedented material and cultural capital — stemming from colonial slavery, continuing through post-Civil War reconstruction and including the Prison Industrial Complex of today.
The plunder of black bodies, minds and spirits has provided the world with incalculable social, cultural and economic value, the overwhelming majority of which has been extracted as black communities have been strategically, systematically displaced, disrupted and dispossessed.
Recognizing that significant changes in social structures and individual attitudes are long overdue, we wish to express our outrage and grief at the ongoing oppression of people of color, along with our fierce condemnation for the violent aggression of militarized police nationwide. We share a sense of urgent need to pacify this dangerously chronic collective vikruti.
In the interest of transparent accountability, our seven-member board is composed of five white-identifying women, one white-identifying man, and one Indian-born woman. In our efforts to protect and promote Āyurveda in Colorado, we strive to acknowledge, honor and include every voice available.
That being said, we are eager for further education and for practical actions that will accelerate the realization of a more just and equitable society. We are committed to listening and learning first, so that any actions we choose will be well-informed and of true benefit.
Immediate actions include:
We are here to hear you and support you however we can. We leave you with the following quotations from great leaders in this historic movement who continue to inspire us in the ongoing struggle for justice and freedom for all.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
From the professional and student members of Colorama