Kidding Around Yoga Justice Information
Justice Task Force
The mission of the Kidding Around Yoga Justice Task Force (JTF) is to keep KAY inclusive: organizationally, within teaching materials, and in reach. To that end, we are committed to continuing to strengthen our anti-racist and anti-discrimination actions, and to make ongoing changes in order to fully embody the teachings of yoga.
Kidding Around Yoga includes people all over the world, with different nationalities, cultures, languages, ethnicities, races, economic backgrounds, religious faiths, spiritual traditions, political views, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and physical, perceptual and mental abilities. We believe yoga is for every body and do not discriminate based on differences. In fact we celebrate diversity, and teach tolerance and acceptance as part of our practice.
Want to be part of the JTF mission? Make a donation! When submitting your PayPal payment, please put “Justice Task Force Donation” in the description.
- Justice Scholarships
The Justice Scholarship Initiative was created to award individuals who have the desire to bring yoga and stress management to children but lack the financial means to pay for the certification training. Scholarships are awarded every month. Follow this link to apply.
- Peace, Love, Justice T-Shirt Fundraiser
All proceeds from the Peace Shirt go into the Justice Fund. Purchase a shirt.
- KAY Day
KAY teachers around the world will celebrate the first annual KAY DAY on April 15th! All KAY teachers are invited to teach a special donation class, in person or virtually, and donate any proceeds to KAY’s Justice Task Force. Find out more.
- Community Outreach
Dream BIG! KAY wants to support your mission to bring yoga and mindfulness to children all over the world, especially to those families who might not otherwise have access to a KAY class. If you’d like to teach a class or series of classes to children in low economic areas (specifically in school districts that receive Title 1 funding), KAY would like to help! Apply for a KAYmunity grant to receive funds in exchange for leading classes in communities of need. Simply fill out the application with as much detail as possible. KAY’s Justice Task Force will review your submission and respond with a funding offer if accepted. Dream BIG! Where will you share your light, your knowledge and your creativity? Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children.
- Course Audits
The JTF, along with the support of volunteer efforts from the KAY community, has completed audits of the majority of courses in Teachable. Changes have been made to reflect our mission and core values. Eventually, all courses and materials will undergo audits.
The JTF has organized training and continuing education for Team KAY, as well as the KAY community to support education around justice, bias, inequality, and how to create a KAY community that offers every child access to yoga. Our specialized online course, KAY4All, has been provided to every KAY teacher, free of charge, to promote and foster inclusivity
The Justice Task Force was officially formed in June of 2020, in response to a greater awareness of how injustice plays out in systems and structures throughout society. Kidding Around Yoga committed to understanding these mechanisms more thoroughly, and to making changes that would reduce the harm and better reflect KAY’s mission and values. Below is our original statement and our original commitments from June 2020.
We stand with you, our Black family. At Kidding Around Yoga, we are a worldwide multicultural community committed to bringing the teaching of yoga to children and families worldwide. Our aspirations have always been to treat all humans with dignity, respect and care. We recognize that aspirations and intentions are different from impact. Our good intentions have not diminished the impact of our lack of understanding.
We acknowledge the harm experienced by Black people and people of color within our organization. We have been blind to the ways in which white supremacy culture has been at play within our materials, structures and communications. We are deeply humbled and saddened to start to realize the extent to which BIPOC have been harmed, undersupported, ignored, dismissed, asked to perform emotional labor for free, and otherwise not held in the ways we aspire to hold everyone. We appreciate those who continued to point out to us our blindspots, even when we failed to listen or honor the wisdom they were bringing. We apologize. We know it is not enough. We are committing to strengthening our anti-racist actions, to continue looking deeper into our structures and personal biases, and to make ongoing changes to embody the teachings of yoga.
This is a time to wake up, to speak up, to stand up. This is a time to fight for what is right and educate those who are still in the dark. Every Black life matters. We all recognize that these are not new issues, but this IS a new opportunity to be allies and agents of change, in large and small ways. Let us not hide from this challenge or wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We each have a voice and a responsibility to fight for a better, more just and peaceful world. Join us as we listen, as we learn, as we change, and as we do what we do best: share the ancient and powerful practice of yoga and meditation with children across the globe.
In addition to the ways in which KAY supports bringing yoga to all children, we specifically recognize and commit to the following:
► Our materials and content need to be reviewed and updated. Some existing content contains ideas or themes rooted in racist structures we are now becoming aware of. These have caused harm and discrimination, and we are committed to a thorough review and action steps. We will give updates as to our actions regarding these materials.
► We also recognize that we have not fully understood what cultural appropriation of yoga looks like. We understand that, in certain instances, we have used yoga in a way that has diminished its roots and caused harm to the culture from which it arises. We are undergoing a deep review of our materials and marketing, in this light, and will give updates as to our actions as a result of this review.
► We also recognize that asking our Black teachers to share what they are doing to guide themselves through these “trying times” was felt as insensitive by many teachers. It was not our intention to cause harm in this way, but we understand how this is emotional labor, and that teachers need to be compensated for this. We will compensate any teachers we call upon to support us in this process.
► We acknowledge the lack of Black leadership within KAY, and are actively expanding the leadership team to include and elevate Black wisdom and voices. This week, we are delighted to welcome Shawandra Ford and Camelia Brown onto the leadership team. We will continue to expand our team in the coming weeks.
► We are revamping our KAY4ALL training to include specific anti-racist training. We will make it mandatory and included for all trainees and trainers. Meanwhile, KAY Leadership is undergoing anti-racist trainings themselves, which will be ongoing.
► We are in the process of allocating resources to support scholarships for BIPOC trainees, to fund classes in underserved communities, and to offer financial support to organizations upholding anti-racism and helping make yoga accessible and available to BIPOC families.
Below are specific actions and projects the JTF has been engaged with since its formation.
- Course Audits Completed: OKAY, EduKAY, KAY4ALL, KAY in the Home, Teen KAY, KAY-C, KAYNATOMY
- Course Audits in Process: PREKAY, Accessible KAY, Raja Yoga, OYY
- Song Review and Updates: New Version of Every Little Cell, retired Crazy Monkey, edited songs to remove ‘Secret Garden’, reviewing several other songs
- Removed the use of ‘OM’ in play on words and marketing in order to honor its roots
- Removed ‘Silly OMS’ and replaced with ‘OM Warmups’
- Changed ‘Secret Garden’ to ‘Peaceful Garden’
- Added a submission form in all Teachable Courses to allow for feedback from participants, so that we can review materials in an ongoing manner
- The Scholarship Fund was established, and the process for applying is open.
- Dozens of applications have been submitted. Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis.
- As of February 2021, two scholarship recipients have completed KAY teacher training!
- Team KAY members have taken part in a number of trainings on justice, bias, and oppression.
- KAY4ALL has been made available for free to ALL KAY teachers, in order to support inclusivity in teaching.
- KAY has sponsored a number of trainings and gatherings for KAY teachers, trainers, and community members on justice, privilege, and oppression.
- Momma KAY has offered weekly livestreamed meditations to support the KAY community in their own practice, understanding, and self-reflection.
- A number of personal donations have been received.
- Proceeds from all sales of the KAY4ALL course go directly into the Justice Fund.
- Proceeds from Pooja Virani’s workshop: Privilege and Oppression in the Yoga World went directly into the Justice Fund.
- All sales from the Peace, Love, Justice T-Shirt go directly into the Justice Fund.
- Proceeds from KAY Day will all go to the Justice Fund.
- Meditate with Momma KAY: Haris is offering Meditation Instruction in exchange for donations to the Justice Fund.
- The JTF is organizing KAY Day for April 15, 2021. On this day, all KAY teachers around the world are invited to teach a class themed around Peace, Love, and Justice. All income from these classes will be donated to the Justice Fund.
- The process for teachers to apply for funds to teach CommuniKAY classes is being finalized.
Ready to be part of the JTF mission? Make a donation! When submitting your PayPal payment, please put “Justice Task Force Donation” in the description.
Please email [email protected] if you wish to reach out to us in regards to the work of the Justice Task Force.