Harvard promotes app that compares BLM to religious awakening

'Liberate' is a meditation app that contains a talk on dharma, Buddha, and Black Lives Matter.

Merrimack College, the University of Rochester, and Augsburg University also promote the app.

Harvard University’s Anti-Racism Resource web page links to a meditation application that discusses Black Lives Matter in religious terms. 

Called “Liberate,” the app bills itself as hosting “meditations and talks designed for the Black experience.” Among those talks is “The Dharma of Black Lives Matter,” which “offers a look at the history and development of the Black Lives Matter movement, its relationship to meditation, [sic] the historical Buddha.”

Hindus believe that dharma is the set of moral rules that govern the universe. 

Most of the meditations and talks available on the app focus on healing and emotional wellbeing through the perspective of Black meditation practitioners. This talk, connecting spiritual practices to Black Lives Matter, is delivered by Shanté Paradigm Smalls, an associate professor of Black Studies at St. Johns University. 

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Smalls likens the Buddha’s awakening to the dawn of the Black Lives Matter movement. “When the historical Buddha woke up...he did that through suffering, through seeing the world as it was, which he had never ever seen.” Smalls relates Buddha’s awakening to the present-day movement, saying, “So these women, building on the long history of Black femme activism, said Black Lives Matter. And don’t you know, that caused an uproar.”

In a Q&A session that is available in the app, Smalls says, “In academia, we talk about the aftermath of slavery. And the aftermath of slavery is like it’s never died, because we have [a] prison system and the criminal justice system that is concentrated on Black and brown people and mentally disabled people.”

The “Liberate” app divides its meditations and talks into sections, including “Grief,” “Gratitude,” “Anger,” “Sleep,” “Ancestors,” and “Microaggressions.”

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Harvard is not the only college that promotes the app as a resource for their students. Merrimack College, the University of Rochester, and Augsburg University, all link to the app.

Campus Reform has asked Harvard University and Smalls for comment; this piece will be updated in the event of a response. 

 Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito