Message to BPF Chapters and Friends

November 15, 2007

image - Earthlyn Manuel - from wpf.org[from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Executive Director]

November 14, 2007

Dear Friends,

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation for all the work being done through BPF chapters. Your involvement in the demonstrations of solidarity for the monks and nuns in Burma was amazing. I want you to know that BPF’s attention to the situation in Burma continues, and we have just hired long-time BPF member Margaret Howe as Human Rights Program Coordinator. She brings a vast amount of organizing skills and a sincere love for BPF to this position. On a part time temporary basis, Margaret will assist us in developing a programmatic foundation in human rights and political freedom, initially with a focus on Burma. Margaret will be in touch with all of you in chapters soon to create ways that we can work together as a BPF community to support the cause of freedom for the Burmese people.

In order to give more focus to BPF’s work we, at the national office, are considering three core program areas under the umbrella of human rights and political freedom. The purpose of this grouping will provide a way to articulate our programming and to assist in requesting donations and foundation grants. This categorizing might also be useful in how BPF chapters organize their work. So I am sharing this with you — your feedback is welcome. The three areas are:

1) Coalition and Alliance Building – networking, marches, demonstrations, affiliations, collaborations

2) Socially Engaged Education and Training – symposiums, conferences, trainings, includes BASE (Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement) groups

3) Peace Advocacy – dharma-based issue/position statements on issues of peace, non-violence, anti-war, etc., collaborating with and supporting other peace organizations, etc.
As we develop these areas of BPF’s work, I hope we can continue the on-going clarification of the working relationship between the chapters and the national BPF office. I do see that the chapters are vital to the structure and existence of BPF. With your commitment and interest in dharma-based social change, together we can further BPF’s vision and mission.

Finally, I am working on a fundraising approach that would designate funds to specific issues. For example, a donor could donate to projects that would address global warming, prevention of urban violence, international human rights, political freedom for prisoners, health advocacy for children, conferences on peace, etc. If this approach is effective, we would be able to provide small grants in these areas for events or activities of BPF chapters in the near future.

Until then, we are in need your financial support. I am asking board members, staff, and chapters to make a donation by December 31, if possible. If we give to ourselves, others will give. As one friend told me years ago, “Money is energy.” You can make an online donation using this link:

https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=7629

Please make sure to note the name of your chapter in the “Chapter Contribution” line on the online form.

Thank you, again, for being an essential part of the BPF community. May these last weeks of 2007 be a time of rest, reflection, and renewal in your own life, and may you enjoy peaceful times with your loved ones during the holiday season.

In peace,

Earthlyn Manuel,
earthlyn [at] bpf [dot] org

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