Dawna I. Ballard

Dawna I. Ballard is a Public Voices Fellow and associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Recent Articles

How Mindfulness Can Transform Movements for Racial Justice and Equality

While Black History Month is rightly steeped in regard for the struggles and triumphs of the past, consciousness in the present is what will move us forward through the other 11 months of the year.

(AP Photo/Edward Kitch)
This essay is published by The American Prospect in partnership with The OpEd Project's University of Texas at Austin Public Voices Fellowship. Black History Month is like a meditation retreat where mindfulness is the goal, but it is not being cultivated in our everyday actions. In Buddhism, we say "mindfulness off the cushion" is the real aim of practice. Gil Fronsdal offers a wonderful analogy instructive even for those unfamiliar with Buddhist practice, describing meditation as “ mindfulness with training wheels .” In fact, #blacklivesmatter contains the seeds of a bona fide mindfulness movement within and across racial groups because it beckons our inner desire for meaning. Rather than resistance against something, it is life-affirming. It is expressed as a form of nonviolent resistance in a social media era. Not only is mindfulness critical to #blacklivesmatter , it is the very approach that accompanied so much progress from the past. “We take off the training...