Rev. angel Kyodo Williams doesn’t like stereotypes.
That’s not entirely surprising, since she also seems to enjoy shattering them. She’s a black queer woman in an American Buddhist tradition often steered by white men; a Buddhist operating in activist circles of mostly Christians and Jews; a leader of the Religious Left who doesn’t use the word “God.”
And while Williams — whose first and last name isn’t capitalized — is known as a hard-charging activist for racial justice, she also has a knack for mixing difficult conversation with easy laughter.
When the author and Buddhist teacher agreed to be interviewed for this story, for instance, she invited me not to a meditation center or sacred locale, but to her upscale apartment along the river in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The decor was something akin to minimalist Buddhist chic, but also included trace elements of whimsy, such as the shiny, skull-shaped candle holder that sat atop her coffee table. Reclining on her couch for our interview, Williams spoke slowly and deliberately, choosing her words carefully as the sun reflected off the river and onto the nearby wall.
“The first time I got arrested many years ago was here in New York—it was over by the Hudson River,” she told me. “I frankly can’t even remember what it was about.”
Read the full interview here: https://thinkprogress.org/angel-kyodo-williams-0357aa186187/