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Dear readers,

I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. This February brings us Black History Month, Losar, and Lunar New Year in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic: a month of celebration tempered by caution, reflection buoyed by hope. I'm looking forward to online events like this one—"From Japanese American Redress to Black Reparations"—which remind me of the ever-present possibilities of community- and coalition-building across racial and religious boundaries. 

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your support of Be the Refuge. I've been humbled and touched by the enthusiastic response the book has received so far, just six days since it was officially released by North Atlantic Books. For those of you who missed the virtual book launch at the Institute Buddhist Studies, a recording will be available soon.

I'm excited to have five online events for Be the Refuge lined up for February:
  • Elliott Bay Book Company on Tuesday, February 2, at 7pm PST, in conversation with Dr. Sharon Suh, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University. I lived just twenty minutes away from this legendary bookstore in junior high and high school, and it's a honor to be joined by Dr. Suh, author of Being Buddhist in Christian World, Silver Screen Buddha, and the memoir Occupy This Body.
  • Books & Books on Thursday, February 18, at 7pm EST, in conversation with Dr. Ann Gleig, author of American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity. Dr. Gleig's scholarship, activism, and generosity are an inspiration to me, and I hope you'll join us for a lively and wide-ranging conversation.
  • BOCA Youth Group on Saturday, February 20, at 4pm PST, "Building Asian American Community" with filmmaker Wanwan Lu and educator Andy Su. Those of you who have read Part 2 of Be the Refuge will recognize Wanwan, Andy, and our hosting organization. Wanwan will share about her documentary on the BOCA Youth Group in Rosemead, California and Andy will talk about Buddhist community building and organizing. You'll find the Zoom registration link here.
  • Buddhist Community at Stanford on Saturday, February 27, at 10am PST. As a Stanford alumna and a great admirer of the BCAS community, which has grown by leaps and bounds since my undergraduate days, I'm delighted to be zooming in with this thoughtful and dedicated group. BCAS events are open to everyone; contact the organizers if you'd like to be part of this book conversation.
  • Insight Meditation Center on Sunday, February 28, at 1pm PST with Ying Chen, Lilu Chen, and Max Erdstein. The Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California was one of the first sanghas I attended regularly as an undergrad when I was just starting to explore Buddhism. This book discussion, hosted by IMC’s Asian Dharma Circle, is open to everyone. There is no need to register; you’ll find the link for the Zoom meeting here.
Feel free to join any of these virtual events, and to share them with others who might be interested! I hope in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to meet in person. Til then, please feel free to email me, as it's always a joy to hear from you.

With best wishes for the month ahead,

~Chenxing
 
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