Iman (formerly Njambi) Gibson ’04 and Tori Lund ’04 met in seventh grade at Crossroads. They both practiced yoga and mindfulness, and quickly became friends. Now, over 20 years later, the two have applied the well-being principles they learned during their Life Skills classes and trip to the Ojai Foundation in a new joint venture—an anti-racism meditation album and journal prompts called “Antiracism Meditation
.” The album is streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Insight Timer.
“Meditation fosters awareness, both personal and societal. It shows us how we think and how we act. Only once we truly get to know ourselves, our habits and our biases can we work to recondition them in a positive way,” Iman and Tori explain.
In the first track, entitled “Privilege and Racism,” they guide the listener to begin by repeating the following: “I take full responsibility for my thoughts, speech and actions. It is not enough to not be racist. I must actively be anti-racist.” Then, they call upon the listener to recognize their privileges and to be “thankful for the opportunity to unlearn old ways.”
The second track, “Allyship Meditation,” asks the listener to be empathetic to the suffering of people of color through various visualizations: “With your next inhale, breathe in the hurt, violence, oppression and trauma. With your next exhale, breathe out comfort, safety, peace.”
“Loving Kindness for Racism Meditation,” the third and final track, centers the meditation practice on love and gratitude for oneself, all those hurt by racism and those who intentionally or unintentionally have committed racist or discriminatory acts. They ask the listener to repeat, “May you be safe from harm. May you awaken to our shared humanity. May all of your emotional wounds heal. May you be at peace.”
Upper School Life Skills and Physical Education Teacher Sheila Bloch—whose Crossroads meditation classes Iman and Tori still vividly recall—recently listened to her former students’ album. “These anti-racism mediations are brilliant and necessary,” Sheila reflects. “Iman and Tori have managed to take on one of the most challenging tasks of examining the deep-seeded roots of bias and racism, and turn that exploration into a spiritual experience. These meditations reach far below the surface, into the places where prejudice, bias and racism seep into our subconscious, and allow us to come face to face with the attitudes and beliefs that get formed from our unearned privilege over Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.”
Next, the longtime friends plan to release a 10-day anti-racism course for the free meditation app Insight Timer.
“Realizing our own biases is the first step,” say Iman and Tori. “Eventually, it will become as innate as the breath: When one sees injustice, one will respond with action.”