Affinity Groups

Develop your practice, spark friendships

Affinity sanghas offer a community of like-minded people within the larger IMCW sangha with which to develop your practice and to spark friendships.

In keeping with our commitment to diversity, some groups are reserved for practitioners from specific under-represented communities, e.g., People of Color, LGBTQIA+ communities, people living with disability or illness, and young adults. 

We affirm that a key responsibility of these affinity sanghas is to determine their own internal organization, including the makeup of their membership. This will allow a circle of belonging that feels safe to its members and create a refuge where they can relax into the intimacy of spiritual exploration. These sanghas provide a harbor of mutual respect and understanding.

If you are interested in joining a current sangha, please contact the facilitator at the contact information given below. If you would like to start a new sangha, please email IMCW.

Facilitator(s):Anna (Annamma) Johns
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:We welcome all people who self-identify as Asian, Asian American, Pacific Island or those with Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry.
Meeting Frequency:4th Sundays, monthly
Description:

To provide a safe(r) space for people of Asian and Pacific Island descent to be seen, heard, and supported in our practice of mindfulness meditation and in our lived experience as Asians in American culture.

To explore and share Asian and Pacific cultural challenges and impacts on our individual and collective psyches in light of the Buddha dharma.

To cultivate a conscious community that fosters authentic connection and a sense of belonging.

More info:Find Meetings
Facilitator(s):La Sarmiento, Silvia Garcia-Pereira, Annamma (Anna) Johns, Ayesha Ali and Satyani McPherson
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
Meeting Frequency:Monthly
Description:

Aspirations of the BIPOC Sangha:

  • To explore our identity as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the light of the Buddhist dharma, across multiple and intersecting lines of difference that include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, socio-economic class, age, and dis/abilities.
  • To provide a safe and intimate space where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color can deepen the practice of meditation and mindful dialogue.To study the dharma from diverse perspectives and to inspire insightful discussions.
  • To study the dharma from diverse perspectives and to inspire insightful discussions.
  • To cultivate a sense of belonging and community both within the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color sangha and the larger IMCW sangha.
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Facilitator(s):Jen Jordan
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Parents, children, and teens
Meeting Frequency:Varies
Description:

The IMCW Family Mindfulness Program is a growing community of families aspiring to cultivate resilience, presence, compassion, connection and awareness amidst the highs and lows of everyday family life. We were established in 2000 by families, for families. Our classes, daylongs, and retreats aim to share the mindfulness toolkit to families, middle schoolers, and teens in practical and accessible ways that are relevant to families. Our program is based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Drop-in classes include Family & Children, Parents, Teens, and Teens of Color.

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Facilitator(s):La Sarmiento, Ayesha Ali, Em Morrison, Ric Chollar and Susan Salek
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer, Intersex, Asexual + Community
Meeting Frequency:Monthly
Description:

The IMCW LGBTQIA+ Sangha aspires to:

  • explore our LGBTQIA+ identities in the light of the Buddhist dharma, across multiple and intersecting lines of difference that include, but are not limited to: sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, age, and dis/abilities.
  • provide a safe and intimate space where LGBTQIAs can deepen the practice of meditation and mindful dialogue.
  • study the dharma from diverse perspectives and to inspire insightful discussion.
  • cultivate a sense of belonging and community both within the LGBTQIA+ sangha and the larger IMCW sangha.
More info:Find Meetings
Facilitator(s):Steve Zappalla
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Military and military vets
Meeting Frequency:Monthly, first Saturdays
Description:

This group offers an opportunity and community for military and veterans who wish to meet and relate to other veterans. Time will be used to talk about and practice how meditation and mindfulness practices can be used to help us relate to the world around us in more skillful ways.

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Facilitator(s):Alison Shapiro, Tara Beech
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Anyone self-identified as deaf or having a dis/ability, illness, or injury that affects their involvement with and interactions to their surroundings.
Meeting Frequency:2nd Mondays 7-8:30 p.m. EST (US & Canada). All other Mondays 7-8 p.m. EST.
Description:

Since its inception, members of the sangha have held space for rich discussion over the group’s purpose and vision. We have concluded that our individual experiences are quite diverse. Yet, we are united by our need to access dominant culture in unique ways. Our differences do not define us, but they do call us into deeper awareness and offer a unique entry point into the meditation practice.

Like the larger community, we experience the full spectrum of human pain and suffering, of human triumph and joy. In sangha, we can hold our hearts open and affirm the fundamental wholeness of each of us. Our intention is to create a safe and accessible environment to enrich our practice.     

ASL-English interpreting and live, automatic captioning is offered for these meetings.

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Facilitator(s):Steve Zappalla
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:People who are, by choice or circumstance, single or who live alone without a partner
Meeting Frequency:Monthly
Description:

An evening of meditation, conscious communication and connection for IMCW singles. Bring a dish or beverage to share for the potluck, if you wish. No registration is necessary.

The IMCW Singles Sangha is a warm, welcoming, inclusive community of people who gather to connect with others who are, by choice or circumstance, single or who live alone without a partner, at this time in their lives. In a couple-centric world, our purpose is simply to create a space for connection and shared experience.

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Facilitator(s):Ashleigh Enriquez
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Young adults (20s & 30s)
Meeting Frequency:Monthly
Description:

Young adults in the IMCW community and other mindfulness-based communities around DC gather for an afternoon of meditation practice, mindful communication, discussion, and tea. The group is for those in their 20’s and 30’s who want to take part in a conscious, mindful community. We welcome young adults of all ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations, and different abilities to our sangha.

Co-led by facilitators, the group offers the opportunity to build a community of spiritual friends with other young meditators.

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Facilitator(s):Ali Arbogast
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Vegans and aspiring vegans
Meeting Frequency:Monthly
Description:

Aspirations of the IMCW Vegan Sangha:

  • To provide community support for vegans and aspiring vegans who feel that the practice of mindfulness and compassion for all beings as expressed through a vegan lifestyle is integral to their dharma and spiritual path.
  • To explore and support each other to be vegan in a non-vegan world.
  • To provide a safe and intimate space to deepen the practice of meditation and mindful dialogue.
  • To study the dharma from diverse perspectives and to inspire insightful discussion.
  • To cultivate a sense of belonging and community both within the vegan sangha and the larger IMCW sangha.
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Facilitator(s):Rashmi Nair-Ripley
Location:Online
Level:All levels
Audience:Women
Meeting Frequency:Saturday mornings
Description:

A place where your inner fluffy comes out to play. A place where your inner brittle can feel safe to soften. A place where your inner slush and sadness allow the lotuses to blossom. 

The women's class is a place of friendship and safety honoring the uniqueness of each and every one who enters. By uncovering our true hearts and experiencing our true nature we live true and fulfilled lives.

We provide both guided meditation and independent practice time followed by a talk, with time for questions and comments.

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