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A Healing Space for All Peoples
“When healing happens anywhere, it happens everywhere…”
I have, to this date, been unable to watch the televised murder of George Floyd even though its been broadcast thousands of times over countless media platforms.
What I’m knowing of is that becoming aware of this horrendous act awakened within me generational trauma, personal trauma and historical trauma. Many others, black and white, have had a similar experience while witnessing man’s inhumanity to man.
What Marianne Williamson refers to as “America’s Shame” is the deeply resonant effects of historical racism’s inhumane impacts on our parents, their parents and the ancestors before them.
While the impact is similar, there are marked differences in the way we internalize it and hold it in our bodies, depending on our upbringing.
Growing up as the child of a mother who was able to “pass” for white, I saw the effects of racism on my mom as a person living in the white world and also as a black woman. There were different, although similar, impacts.
Why do black people need “black only” healing spaces?
The effects of institutional and socialized racism often show up as survivor guilt, shame and sometimes unspeakable hurt that is difficult to unearth in social settings, especially in mixed audiences, since there can often be a sense of responsibility (or even codependency) for the feelings of others.
Many people have compartmentalized their trauma, buried it away, while remaining “stuck” in the cycle of hurt, anger and outrage, feelings of powerlessness and despair.
The Association of Black Psychologists and the Community Healing Network are working together to establish a global network of self-help groups focused on emotional emancipation, healing and wellness for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) In partnership they also developed the framework and model for implementation of “Ubuntu Healing Circles” , a safe space for people of color to collectively heal the effects of racialized trauma.
Ubuntu is a Zulu word that means humanity and is translated as “I Am because We Are”. The Ubuntu healing circles are designed to help people of African ancestry in the US, and throughout the diaspora, defy the lie of the myth of black inferiority.
Ubuntu circles challenge the ideology of White supremacy, allowing black folk the space for deeply personal healing work , in preparation for coming together with others to have uncomfortable conversations.
This work is not to “comfort the afflicted, but rather to afflict the comfortable” in the words of metaphysician Dr. Dan Morgan.
Black people, and white people, need a respite from everyday racial oppression. In a society where white psychologists have been documented as accusing black patients as “paranoid” when they describe the effects of institutional racism, and the damaging impact of seeing media images of black deaths daily, black people need a safe space to share their pain and desires for safety and security. White people also need space where they can speak about their awakening to the impacts of racism without fear of judgement. In these spaces they may safely share their reactions to exploring white privilege without defensiveness.
As Black people, we need to heal one another, uplift each other and love on each other to counteract the impacts of institutional racism that harm us, oppress us and continue to tell us that we do not matter. We know that we have within us the incredible power to heal and love one another even amid white supremacist structures that continue to inflict harm upon us.
The truth is that White people are also traumatized by the construct of racism. There is a deepening of the awareness of how we are all impacted and an opportunity to learn more about how we manage our triggers around this.
It is equally as important to have white only spaces for the healing of racialized trauma.
“As we work our unhealed woundedness we can come together without being on the attack.” Rev. Lola Wright, Founder of the Bodhi Center in Chicago.
“Even white people have not had a safe space to see what the construct does for them! We can provide that safe space as Centers for Spiritual Living.” Rev Deborah Johnson, founder of Innerlight Ministries.
The Cultural Somatics University offers a powerful and free 5 lesson introductory course on racialized trauma and its effects on the body. This course offers a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the impacts of racism on the white body, the black body, the Police body and the collective body. This course can be an effective primer for learning about the healing emerging in the collective consciousness.
We are all impacted by the awakening taking place and have an opportunity to take responsibility for our own healing. But we cannot heal what is not revealed. Trainings like this one can assist us with deepening our understanding of what is needed for the healing of the Beloved Community.
Committing to our personal healing allows us to bring that medicine we find to one another and create collective healing. From this place we can re-create our society and institutions free from the influence of racialized trauma that we have all grown up with.
The invitation is for us to commit to take responsibility for our own healing and use the collective power of Spirit within us to heal and love one another.
Our leadership team has designed a collective healing experience for people who identify as white with the intention that we will be able to bring together our entire congregation for a Community Healing Forum in the near future.
These events allow for the creation of safe and courageous space to express authentic feelings and to explore how we can more effectively build the Beloved Community connecting our Faith and Compassion to drive positive action based on spiritual principles.
“People who have always been entitled to space and to place have no idea what it’s like to have never been entitled to space. Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams founder of TransformativeChange.org