3 Lessons on Healing Justice

Several weeks ago, Ruben Elias Canedo Sanchez recommended this Healing Justice podcast hosted by adrienne marie brown with Prentis Hemphill, Spenta Kandawalla, and Staci K. Haines. I’ve listened to it three times already and have recommended it repeatedly. Here are three lessons and some of my favorite quotes.

1. Unprocessed trauma is destructive. Processed trauma can be liberatory and foster growth.

“Black people have been traumatized through the oppression, generationally and in our currently lives…How do we name that we’ve been traumatized? Naming how we have been traumatized is a humanizing effort.” – Prentis Hemphill

“Trauma was either limiting us or liberating us forward in some way.” – adrienne maree brown

“Trauma and oppression work to dis-integrate us, or disappear things, or break us, or compartmentalize us both individually and collectively. Somatics is one healing and transformative methodology that really tries to make us whole again individually and collectively. And decompartmentalize us and integrate us and have us, bring all of ourselves and know how to do that.” – Spenta Kandawalla

“As we deeply decompartmentalizing ourselves, which is a great survival strategy for these social conditions, but it doesn’t let us be very whole…And then we want to un-compartmentalize ourselves and become more whole, but in this very pragmatic way of how we think, of how we relate, and how we build together. So at this point I can’t see liberation movements without healing and I can’t see healing without liberation movements.” – Staci K. Haines

2. Healing Justice = individual healing within a social analysis AND organizing toward collective liberation.

Healing is often done at the individual with no social analysis. Social movements often don’t create space for individual healing.

Trauma Healing as capacity/power building:

“Trauma healing unlocks our creative potential. When we heal, we are able to bring our full selves into the current moment…It unlocks an incredible creative and imaginable potential…that’s what we need to think through and imagine new strategies that we haven’t before.” – Prentis Hemphill

This all has me continuing to think about the distinctions between self-care and healing – both are needed but not interchangeable.

Self-care = getting a break from the pain, hurt, and trauma. It can be a useful pleasure and distraction. Examples include massage, Netflix, movie, etc.

Healing = digging into the roots of the pain, hurt, and trauma. Might include a counselor or coach, spiritual practice, etc.

3. Healing Justice and Accountability

“There is the theory of things and there is how we actually practice it. To practice into a transformative justice response, we have to have a really wide range of capacity to love while inviting in and holding accountability around violence.” – Staci K. Haines

“So many people are victim/perpetrators in a lot of these scenarios. Oppression is happening to everyone and traumatizing everyone.” – adrienne maree brown

“How does the trauma healing that is needed in this moment and is coming forward, how does that lead to collective liberation rather than just punishment?” – Staci K. Haines

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