Reflecting on the Black Healing Justice Project
by Charnae Sanders, Co.act Detroit program coordinator
Have you ever signed up for an opportunity that opened your eyes and touched your heart to a greater depth than you imagined? I was able to experience a moment like this while being a cohort member of The Black Healing Justice Project, created in partnership with Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) and The Kresge Foundation.
From January through July, my colleague, Lauren Boone, and I both had the opportunity to take part in this virtual learning community facilitated by the incredible team members at BEAM. BEAM is a national training, movement building, and grantmaking organization dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.
When I originally signed up for the opportunity to be a part of this cohort, I thought I would be leaving with only tools and lessons learned to better serve our community at Co.act. I couldn’t have imagined how transformational this opportunity would be for me on a personal level as well.
Over a 7-month period, L’Orèal McCollum and Dr. Michael Chan-Frazier LPC of BEAM led us through training sessions exploring a range of topics surrounding trauma, mental health and healing within the Black community. My colleague and I admired how BEAM helped create a supportive and brave space every time we connected through Zoom.
Before diving into tough conversations, I loved how BEAM would start off each session with The Feeling Wheel (see below). What I love about this tool is how it challenged me to intentionally take a pause and conduct a body scan to identify what feelings were showing up in my body.
As nonprofit professionals, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the motions of working at a rapid pace that we forget to slow down. This practice served as a reminder to gracefully check-in with ourselves and honor where we are in that moment.
During our bi-weekly trainings, we were challenged us to look at various issues not just from our own point of view, but through the eyes of those in our community. It was inspiring to hear from peers in the social sector share how they continue to show up for their community despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The conversations around mental health and trauma deepened my understanding on the topics. It also gave me the language to better understand my own experiences and the experiences of others. In our cohort, we also learned about the LAPIS Peer Support Model, one of the central peer support tools used by BEAM. The model provides helpful guidance on being able to support someone — a friend, colleague or even community member—during a crisis or with their mental health.
One of the concepts I was introduced to that really opened my eyes was Healing Justice, which is a term attributed to Cara Page of Kindred Healing Collective. It is defined as, “how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence, to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression in our bodies, hearts, and minds.” Outside of learning various frameworks and strategies, I also discovered tactical ways to apply what I learned through coaching sessions. This was extremely valuable because I was able to receive feedback on how I can reflect this insight through our programming.
Overall, I feel grateful to have been a part of this learning community. This experience taught me so much on a personal and professional level. It has made me more aware of how I can better support the wellbeing of our Black community members through our offerings and sharing various resources. It’s also opened my mind to different perspectives and has inspired me to continue forward on my own healing journey.
EVENTS & TRAINING
Black Mental Health & Healing Justice for Educators
Tue, August 10, 2021
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT
Learn tools and skills to center the mental health and needs of Black students.
Black Mental Health & Healing Justice: Peer Support Training Institute
4 Wednesdays in August (4th, 11th, 18th, & 25) and 1 Wednesday in September (1st) from 3:30-5:30pm EDT
This certificate program equips participants with 101 knowledge of mental health issues, myths, and challenges in Black communities and provides participants with tools and skills to offer healing justice informed peer support. This course is for anyone offering any form of peer or emotional health support in Black communities including, but not limited to, activists, advocates, educators, HIV/AIDS workers, substance use support counselors, yoga teachers, or anyone else offering support services to Black communities.
Emotionally Intelligent Leadership & Social Justice
The BEAM Emotionally Intelligent Leadership training provides leaders with a wide range of experience with the necessary tools that help incorporate emotional justice, equity, and wellness into their approach to leadership, as well as their organization’s practices and processes. This training can be provided in one day or two day segments.
For more information, visit: https://www.beam.community/emotionally-intelligent-leadership-training
BEAM is a collective of advocates, yoga teachers, artists, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists and activists committed to the emotional/mental health and healing of Black communities. Explore BEAM’s various toolkits by checking out their website.
Healing by Choice!
Community Conversation Series
Healing by Choice! is excited to partner with Detroit Disability Power on their Community Conversation Series. The Community Conversation Series is a series of 5 interactive, virtual discussions on the intersections of ableism, racism, and ageism. Anyone interested in disability justice is welcome to attend. Community Conversations will be held on the following dates: July 13th, August 11th, September 2nd, October 12th, and November 18th. All events will take place at 6-8pm ET. The first discussion in this series (on July 13th) will feature the following panelists: Dr. Angel Love Miles, Taraneh Fazeli, Richard Feldman, Ramiro Alvarez, and Jeff Jones. All events in this series are free to attend.
To learn more about Healing by Choice! and to stay updated with their events, visit: https://www.healingbychoicedetroit.com/events
The Wellbeing Project
The Wellbeing Project is focused on catalysing a culture of inner wellbeing for all changemakers. We are inspired by love, care and compassion for all the people who work to build a better world, as well as to support the many causes and movements for which we all work.
The Journey to Wholeness: Bridging Our Inner and Outer Worlds WELLbinar Series
The Wellbeing Project is offering a series of ‘WELLbinars’ to respond to the pressing and urgent needs of our current times. Topics include creating healthy boundaries, exploring individual and collective trauma, and cultivating somatic awareness to name a few. Catch the replays and sign-up for upcoming sessions by visiting https://wellbeing-project.org/webinar-series-bridging-our-inner-and-outer-worlds/.
Beth Kanter is a well-established international nonprofit thought leader and author. Her first book, The Networked Nonprofit, introduced the sector to a new way of thinking and operating in a connected world. Her second book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, is a practical guide for using measurement and learning to achieve social impact. Her third book, The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, was the first book to advocate for personal and workplace resilience in the nonprofit sector. On Beth’s Blog, she explores a variety of topics from workplace culture and work-life balance to digital wellness and leadership.