#HowWeHeal Book Club Chapters – February to October & Event Planning in 2020


February 11th


“National Day of Racial Healing Conversation Guide”

“Proclamations for a Day of Racial Healing” from Mayor Kate Gallego and State Representative Reginald Bolding

Endorsements Across the Nation for “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP (Somatic Experiencing Practitioner)

Arizona Republic Opinion Piece by Race and Culture Columnist Greg Moore, February 7, 2020, “#HowWeHeal book club tackles race”



     To listen and learn from each other

     To have agreements – “What does mutual respect look like?”


     Share one inherited trait from your ancestry that you recognize has given you an aptitude for creativity in a specific area. Intelligences could include linguistic, logic, kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal.


     What aspect of your racial or ethnic identity makes you the proudest?


     Share in as little as one word how this experience has impacted you.

QUOTES from My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP (Somatic Experiencing Practitioner), 2017


March 10th

Chapter 1: YOUR BODY AND BLOOD – White-body supremacy doesn’t live just in our thinking brains. It lives and breathes in our bodies. Talk therapy can help with the healing process, but the body is the central focus for healing trauma. Trauma is the body’s response to anything unfamiliar or anything it doesn’t understand. Sometimes trauma is a collective experience, in which case the healing must be collective and communal as well.

Chapter 2: BLACK, WHITE, BLUE AND YOU Whether or note white-body supremacy is formally and explicitly taught to us, it’s in the air we breathe, the culture we share, and the bodies we inhabit. There is a way out of all of this. It begins with your body – the only place where the mending of racialized (or any) trauma can happen.

Chapter 3: BODY TO BODY, GENERATION TO GENERATION – When one settled body encounters another, there can be a deeper settling of both bodies. But when one unsettled body encounters another, the unsettledness tends to compound in both bodies. In families and large groups, this effect can multiply exponentially. Resilience is built into the cells of our bodies. Like trauma, resilience can ripple outward, changing the lives of people, families, neighborhoods, and communities in positive ways. Also like trauma, resilience can be passed down from generation to generation.


April 14th – 

Chapter 4: EUROPEAN TRAUMA AND THE INVENTION OF WHITENESS – Trauma was not invented in 1619. For thousands of years before that, human beings murdered, butchered, tortured, oppressed, abused, conquered, enslaved, and colonized one another. For America to outgrow the bondage of white-body supremacy, white Americans need to imagine themselves in Black, red, and brown bodies and experience what those bodies had to endure. They also need to do the same with the bodies of their own white ancestors.

Chapter 5: ASSAULTING THE BLACK HEART – Dividing working-class Black and white people from each other was repeated with later waves of immigrants. Italians, Irish, Eastern European Jews, and other European immigrant groups were initially regarded as stupid, barbaric, dangerous, and most of all, non-white. With a generation or two, however, each was colonized, socialized, and absorbed into the false community of whiteness. The Black heart, soul, and psyche continue to be violated in many ways today, including through everyday stressors, micro-aggressions, and a lack of regard.

Chapter 6: VIOLATING THE BLACK BODY – When two or more familiar bodies first encounter one another, each body goes on alert while its brain discerns, ASAP, whether the other body is safe or dangerous. One shortcut the lizard brain uses to make this determination is by asking, How closely does this body match mine? The lizard brain then tells the body to either relax in recognition or constrict in self-protection. Both white and Black bodies often do this.


May 12th – 

Chapter 7: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY – Many white Americans need to be confronted – firmly and compassionately – on their white fragility. Much of that fragility is a trauma-driven, lizard-brain defensiveness that quickly fights, flees from, or freezes out all such caring confrontation. There is only one way through this stalemate. White Americans must accept, explore, and mend their centuries-old trauma around oppression and victimization.


June 9th – 

Chapter 8: WHITE-BODY SUPREMACY AND THE POLICE BODY – Over the past two decades, the policing imperative in many American communities has morphed from protect, serve, and keep the peace to control, arrest, and shoot. When a police body unnecessarily harms a Black one, the officer is often not held accountable because, as he or she explains, “I feared for my life.” In some cases, this is an honest description of a trauma-inspired fight, flee, or free response. Yet it is never a valid defense for murder. White-body supremacy has changed our law enforcement professionals with managing Black bodies. Instead, we need to help our police learn to manage their own.

Chapter 9; CHANGING THE WORLD BEGINS WITH YOU – As of this writing (in 2017), many white progressives remain committed to interventions that ignore or dismiss the crucial role historical trauma plays in people’s lives. Thus paradoxically, they sabotage healing for many Americans of all skin colors, and unwittingly perpetuate the trauma. The place to begin the all-important healing of trauma is with the body. Healing does not occur in a vacuum. We also need to begin mending our collective body. That can help us steadily build respect, recognition, community, and eventually, culture. We must first focus, though, on healing the underlying trauma as individuals. That is the essential first step.


July 7th – 

Chapter 10: YOUR SOUL NERVE – The vagus nerve is “the unifying organ of your entire nervous system.” (Page 138) It is “vital to your health and well-being.” (Page 139) Body and breath practices will “settle your body, stay present, and remain connected with other people.” (Page 141)

Chapter 11: SETTLING & SAFEGUARDING YOUR BODY – “Settling is not the same thing as healing; it is the foundation for healing. A settled body invites and accepts efforts to mend it; an unsettled one tends to resist those efforts.” (Page 153) “A calm, settled body is the foundation for health, for healing, for helping others, and for changing the world.” (Page 151-152)

July 14th – 

Chapter 12: THE WISDOM OF CLEAN PAIN – “Healing from trauma involves recognizing, accepting, and moving through pain – clean pain.”

Chapter 13: REACHING OUT TO OTHER BODIES -“When you heal historical and intergenerational trauma, you heal the people who came before you. You also heal the generations to come, because your healing means that you will not pass on your trauma to your descendants.”

Chapter 14: HARMONIZING WITH OTHER BODIES – “Because a settled nervous system encourages other nervous systems to settle, a calm, settled presence is the foundation for changing the world.”

DISCUSSION on “Being an Active Listener” It involves:

     Not interrupting;

     Not making judgments;

     Not asking questions other than to make sure you understand;

     Not giving advice or offering explanations; and

     Not jumping in with a story of your own.

July 28th –

Chapter 15: MENDING THE BLACK HEART AND BODY – “One way to begin to mend your heart and heal your trauma is to observe yourself carefully, and notice when and how white body supremacy operates inside you.” Be alert for “traumatic retentions” and “reflexively making white people feel safe and comfortable.”

Chapter 16: MENDING THE WHITE HEART AND BODY – “The most important thing you can do to unravel white-body supremacy—and to heal your own historical and secondary trauma around race—is to notice what your body does in the presence of an unfamiliar Black body, and then learn to settle your body in the midst of that presence.”


August 11th –

Chapter 17: MENDING THE POLICE HEART AND BODY – “To do your job well, you will need to metabolize your trauma and move through it. If you don’t you may find yourself blowing your trauma through some of the very people you’ve vowed to protect.”

August 25th –

Chapter 18: BODY-CENTERED ACTIVISM – “Before you show up for any social action, first do what you can to settle your own body and nervous system.” “In any

social action, do what you can to help settle and harmonize as many bodies as possible. Do the same in any event-planning gathering.” “At its best, activism is a form of healing.”

Chapter 19: CREATING CULTURE – “Social activism is necessary for changing the world in positive ways. If our collective body is to fully heal from the trauma of white-body supremacy, we must also create new expressions of culture that call out, reject, and undermine white-body supremacy.” Each subculture, Black, white and police, “first needs to create profound change within its culture.”

Chapter 20: CULTURAL HEALING FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS – This chapter includes suggestions for “healing among African-Americans,” regarding raising leaders “who have healed their racialized trauma,” learning about “traumatic retentions,” “historical and intergenerational trauma,” and “African history and cultures,” naming our children or renaming ourselves after “Black men and women we admire” or creating unique names, teaching “our children the basics of body awareness and somatic healing,” and practicing and teaching “the art of disruptive healing, as well as the history of such healing.” “These practices can help us create more room for healing and resilience in our children. They can also help us heal and grow up.”


September 15th –

Chapter 21: WHITENESS WITHOUT SUPREMACY – “If America is to grow out of white-body supremacy, the transformation must largely be led by white Americans.” This chapter includes suggestions for what to include the engine of transformation for “the creation of a new culture” that will “redefine whiteness and work to dismantle white-body supremacy.” “None of this will be easy. It will take great effort from many white Americans, individually and collectively, over a period of years.”

Chapter 22: RESHAPING POLICE CULTURE – The dynamic of police brutality in America, targeting and killing large numbers of Black bodies, will not change until individual “officers consistently recognize Black bodies, lives, and communities as human bodies, lives, and communities.” This chapter includes some potential first steps in community policing, if, for example you’re a patrol officer or if you’re a precinct captain, police chief, mayor, or other leader.

September 29th –

Chapter 23: HEALING IS IN OUR HANDS – “There has been too much damage to too many bodies for too many generations. But we all can begin with respect, caring, and a willingness to help. On that foundation, we African Americans can learn to love ourselves and each other. White people can do the same with other white folks. Police officers can do it with other police. Eventually, maybe we’ll all be able to come together.” Until then, we can practice giving respect, caring, and assistance. Once there’s “widespread healing and growing up,” we can begin to reach out from one group to another and slowly intertwine, triumphing over trauma and increasing “our ability to achieve our individual and collective dreams” (Peter Levine) through love and trust. “The time to begin is now.” (Resmaa Menakem)

Chapter 24: THE RECKONING – “For centuries, it was possible for white Americans to accept white-body supremacy without questioning it.” We’re at a critical mass in a battle fueled by trauma since the Middle Ages. “We Americans have an opportunity—and an obligation—to recognize the trauma embedded in our bodies; to accept and metabolize the clean pain of healing; and to move out of our trauma,” mending our hearts and bodies. “If you’re a white American, you can’t look away anymore. You have to choose. You can either choose the clean pain of healing and grow up or choose the dirty pain (of silence and avoidance), increase the age-old trauma, and pass it on to others.”


October 13th –

Afterward: “As the world watches and holds us accountable, we can choose the clean pain (of healing)” or the dirty pain of silence and avoidance. “This book can help us make that choice, and to navigate the unknown waters into which we need to sail.” “The current officer training program indoctrinates individuals of all races into a system that teaches them to act first, think later, and justify with fear.” (Ilhan Omar, Minnesota State Representative, 2017) “On that same day, Richard Carlson, a retired public defender echoed Omar’s concerns, and insisted that it is “the civilians who must be in control, not the police. These days it appears to be the opposite.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) “Those civilians are us. Let’s get to work.” (Resmaa Menakem)

Five Opportunities for Healing and Making Room for Growth: #1: Healing on your own., #2: Healing with another trusted, caring person.#3: Healing in community; #4 Healing with the help of a body-focused healing professional; and #5: Healing with the help of a trauma therapist. 

Acknowledging My Contemporaries

Dates for Event Planning for a Day of Racial Healing in Arizona, 2021

October 27th 

November 10th

November 17th

December 1st

December 8th

January 5th

January 12th

January 18th – MLK MARCH AND FESTIVAL PHOENIX 2021 – A March with a “Day of Racial Healing” Banner, beginning at 9:00 a.m. from Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church at 1401 E. Jefferson Street to Margaret T. Hance Park at 1200 N. Third Street . A Festival with Food, Speakers and Entertainment will follow.

January 19th – 2nd Annual DAY OF RACIAL HEALING IN PHOENIX & IN ARIZONA 2021


Racism is a disease whose healing must begin with the white body. “There is only one way through this stalemate,” says author Resmaa Menakem. Firmly and compassionately, White Americans must be confronted “to accept, explore and mend their centuries-old trauma around oppression and victimization of white bodies by other, more powerful white bodies.”

The victimization created by white supremacy throughout generations has not only darkened the souls of People of Color, but also remains entrapped within their bodies. Their voices have simply been taken away, their pleas for recognition of their dignity ignored, leaving a dark trauma within. The part that simply makes them smile has died, as it does for a lifetime following any traumatic crime where no amount of settlement nor change in law or policy has changed the trajectory of oppression.

As Resmaa Menakem says, “…white-body supremacy comes at a great cost to white people. There is the moral injury, which creates shame and even more trauma.” We, as white Americans, must begin the healing process of racialized trauma – “sooth ourselves, metabolize our own ancient historical and secondary trauma, accept and move through clean pain, and grow up.”  I believe it is responsibility for us all in this lifetime to commit to healing current and intergenerational racialized trauma. But the process must begin with white bodies in order to move America forward.

From My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 7: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY, Pages 97-108, Book Club Selection of #HowWeHeal Book Club – Racialized Trauma, 2 Tuesdays per month, February through December, 6 to 7 pm, http://zoom.us/j/5602987293E









My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” is unique in that it is a self-help book that not only brings awareness of the history of  intergenerational trauma that has been created over 401 years in our county, but calls for action to heal racialized trauma, using  a step-by-step process, through Body Practices based on the latest neuroscience and practices of body-centered psychology. Trauma is in the body and cannot be solely transformed through talk about racism and anti-racism. To pull out of the grips of racialized body trauma, both individually and collectively, we who care about ending racial discrimination now have at our fingertips concrete steps to take to engage in the process of repair.


Each January is filled with preparation for the MLK DAY MARCH AND FESTIVAL and the CELEBRATION OF THE DAY OF RACIAL HEALING (the Tuesday immediately following MLK DAY).  The Day of Racial Healing marks the re-launching of the #HowWe Heal BOOK CLUB on RACIALIZED TRAUMA, our communal RACIAL HEALING CAMPAIGN PROJECT.

PACE OF TWO SESSIONS  There will be two consecutive Book Clubs Sessions (4 Meetings per Month) – February through June and July through December with 20 hour-long discussions per session on Tuesday evenings. Holidays observed will be St. Patrick’s Day, the Tuesday following Labor Day, Election Day, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and ending on the second Tuesday in December.

PACE OF CHAPTER READINGS  At the close of each meeting, group members will determine the number of pages to comfortably cover in preparation for the next Book Club discussion.


Number of Pages, Body Practices and Re-Memberings of “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem MSW, LICSW, SEP, ISBN 978-1-942094-47-0

The Front Matter of the Book – 20 Pages

“Special Praise for My Grandmother’s Hands,” Pages i-iv

               4 Pages

Title Page, Page v

               1 Page

Copyright Page, Page vi

               1 Page

Table of Contents, vii-viii,

               2 Pages

“Caution: Do Not Cross This Line Without Authorization,” Pages ix-xi

               3 Pages

“Watch Your Body,” xiii-xiv

               2 Pages

“Acknowledging Our Ancestors,” Pages xv-xvi

               2 Pages

“Our Bodies, Our Country,” Pages xvii-xx

               3 Pages

The Body of the Book – 298 Pages

PART I: Unarmed and Dismembered

Chapter 1: YOUR BODY AND BLOOD, Pages 3-26

            23 Pages, 1 Body-Centered Practice, 18 Re-Memberings

Chapter 2: BLACK, WHITE, BLACK, BLUE and YOU, Pages 27-36

            9 Pages, 4 Body Practices, 7 Re-Memberings


19 Pages, 1 Body and Breath Practice, 10 Re-Memberings


9 Pages, 1 Body Practice, 9 Re-Memberings

Chapter 5: ASSAULTING THE BLACK HEART, Pages 67-86

19 Pages, 2 Body Practices (one with 4 Parts), 12 Re-Memberings

Chapter 6: VIOLATING THE BLACK BODY, Pages 87-96

9 Pages, 1 Body Practice (with 4 Parts), 3 Re-Memberings


13 Pages, 3 Body Practices (General & for White and Black Readers), 8 Re-Memberings


17 Pages, 2 Body and Breath Practices (General and for Law Enforcement), 12 Re-Memberings


            7 Pages, No Body Practice, 5 Re-Memberings

PART II: Remembering Ourselves

Chapter 10: YOUR SOUL NERVE, Pages 137-150

13 Pages, 11 Body and Breath Practices, 11 Re-Memberings


13 Pages, 6 Body and Breathing Practices, 11 Re-Memberings

Chapter 12: THE WISDOM OF CLEAN PAIN, Pages 165-176

11 Pages, 2 Body Practices, 4 Re-Memberings (One with 4 Parts)

Chapter 13: REACHING OUT TO OTHER BODIES, Pages 177- 180

4 Pages, No Body Practices, 10 Re-Memberings

Chapter 14: HARMONIZING WITH OTHER BODIES, Pages 181-186

5 Pages, 18 IN ALL – 11 Body Practices to Do With Friends, Family Members, and Others You Know Trust, and 7 Body Practices to Do in Groups Whose members Know and Trust Each Other (Church Groups, Block Clubs (correct spelling from book), Etc.). to

Chapter 15: MENDING THE BLACK HEART AND BODY, Pages 187-198

11 Pages, 11 Body Practices to Do Together and 1 Body Practice (With 3 Parts), 3 Re-Memberings

Chapter 16: MENDING THE WHITE HEART AND BODY, Pages 199-214

            15 Pages, 1 Body Practice, 10 Re-Memberings

Chapter 17: MENDING THE POLICE HEART AND BODY, Pages 215-236

21 Pages, 5 Anchors to Practice in stressful or potentially dangerous situations unless the situation calls for immediate, split-second action, 6 Body and Breath Practices from Chapter 11 and 2 Body Practices from Chapter 12, 19 Everyday Practices to feel good and stay (or get) healthy, and 12 Suggestions for Creating and Following your own Self-care Routine (from Chapter 11, Pages 159-163), 11 Re-Memberings

PART III: Mending Our Collective Body

Chapter 18: BODY-CENTERED ACTIVISM, Pages 237-244

7 Pages, Grounding and Settling Activities in Chapters 10, 11, and 12 and Tasks “If You’re an Event Organizer, Planner, Leader, Or Speaker” and “If You’re a Frequent or Serious Activist,” 8 Re-Memberings

Chapter 19: CREATING CULTURE, Pages 245-252

            7 Pages, No Body Practices, 9 Re-Memberings


7 Pages, No Body Practices, 2 Re-memberings with 8 Suggestions for promoting social and cultural healing among African Americans

Chapter 21: WHITENESS WITHOUT SUPREMACY, Pages 261-274

13 Pages, No Body Practice, 7 Re-Memberings (One with 13 Points of what the creation of a new culture will ideally include in a transformation led by white people)

Chapter 22: RESHAPING POLICE CULTURE, Pages 275-286

`           11 Pages, No Body Practices, Steps to Create a Community Policing Model, designed to have decentralized power, so the patrol officer can take care of things in his or her responsibility area, changing metrics of arrest to those of crime reduction, justice and problem-solving – “If you’re a patrol officer or some other on-the-ground public safety professional” or “If you’re a precinct captain, police chief, mayor, or other leader “

Chapter 23: HEALING IS IN OUR HANDS, Pages 287-292

5 Pages, 1 Body Practice, 7 Re-Memberings

Chapter 24: THE RECKONING, Pages 293-298

5 Pages, No Body Practice, 7 Re-Memberings

The Back Matter of the Book – 10 Pages

AFTERWORD, Pages 299-304

            5 Pages


            2 Pages, 5 Opportunities – Own your own; with another trusted, caring person; healing in community; with the help of a body-focused healing professional; or with the help of a trauma therapist


            3 Pages

DISCUSSION POINTS TO SHARE AT MEETINGS As you’re reading group-selected chapter/s, please note powerful quotes, research findings, body practices, unique insights, or historical facts and choose an outstanding one to share with the group that particularly broadened your perspective on racial equity and/or racial healing.

“White Fragility” Unfreezing the Stalemate in White America

Much of fragility is trauma driven, freezing out confrontation. “There is only one way through this stalemate. White Americans must accept, explore, and mend their centuries-old trauma around the oppression and victimization of white bodies by other, more powerful white bodies.”

“Constricted bodies, frozen attitudes, and closed minds are common side effects of racialized trauma (and trauma in general).”

“Until racialized trauma is addressed, changing attitudes or opening minds is large impossible, especially on a large scale. However, once white Americans begin this all -important healing process, minds, nervous systems, attitudes, relationships and culture can all have a little more room to grow and transform.”

From My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 4: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY, Page 104, Book Club Selection of #HowWeHeal Book Club – Racialized Trauma, 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, 6 to 7 pm, http://zoom.us/j/5602987293Edit

VIGILANTE OR RACIST – Bernhard Goetz, 1984

“Where is Bernhard Goetz Now? ‘Trial By Media’ (NETFLIX) Subject Still Lives in NYC,” Gretchen Smail, May 11, 2020

“During the criminal trial, Goetz famously admitted that he wanted to kill the teens. “I wanted to maim those guys. I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could…. If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets,” he said. Despite this damning confession, the predominantly white jury found that Goetz had acted in self defense and was not guilty of attempted murder. Goetz served 250 days in prison. (Cabey’s family successfully sued Goetz in 1996 and won $43 million, but per Newsweek, it’s unclear how much of that he was actually paid.) (FYI he declared bankruptcy afterwards, per Netflix, the one-year prison sentence was for carrying an unlicensed gun, and the Cabey family lawsuit’s jury was composed of 4 blacks and 3 Hispanics.)


WHITE FRAGILITY “I feared for my life”

AN EXAMPLE OF “WHITE FRAGILITY” “I feared for my life.”

“On Tuesday, the Phoenix Police Department named 30-year-old Mark Rine as the killer of Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed black man who was gunned down last week after the officer reportedly mistook a pill bottle for a gun. “Cop Kills Unarmed Black Man in Arizona,” 12/9/2014 “Thus white fragility grants permission to white and police bodies to regularly kill Black ones—even if unarmed, unresistant ones—in ostensible self-defense.”

From My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 4: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY) #HowWeHeal – Racialized Trauma – Book Club Selection, 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, 6 to 7 pm, http://zoom.us/j/5602987293Edit

WHITE FRAGILITY as a Reflexive, Protective Response

White Fragility is “a way for the white body to avoid experiencing the pain of its historical trauma inflicted by other white bodies. ” (Page 108) “There is only one way through this stalemate. White Americans must accept, explore, and mend their centuries-old trauma around oppression and victimization.” (Page 109)

From My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 4: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY) #HowWeHeal – Racialized Trauma – Book Club Selection, 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, 6 to 7 pm, http://zoom.us/j/5602987293Edit

WHITE FRAGILITY as a Reflexive, Protective Response

White fragility is “a way for the white body to avoid experiencing the pain of its historical trauma inflicted by other white bodies.” (Page 108) “There is only one way through this stalemate. White Americans must accept, explore, and mend their centuries-old trauma around oppression and victimization.” (Page 109)

From My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 4: THE FALSE FRAGILITY OF THE WHITE BODY) #HowWeHeal – Racialized Trauma – Book Club Selection, 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, 6 to 7 pm, http://zoom.us/j/5602987293Edit

“#HowWeHeal book club tackles race” by Columnist Greg Moore

OPINIONS “Race and Culture” Arizona Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK February 7, 2020

    Sometimes compassion inspires action.

    That’s what happened for Joanne Scott Woods, the Phoenix activist behind the #HowWeHeal book club, which starts next week and aims to provide people of all backgrounds an opportunity to “come together through a shared commitment to racial equity.”

    “I want, passionately, to change the divisiveness in our country,” Scott Woods said.

    The club will meet once a month starting Tuesday to discuss “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies,” by Resmaa Menakem.

    The book has been described as a self-help guide written by a therapist who believes the body holds racial trauma.

    Menakem writes that the damage of racism “will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans – our police.”

    Scott Woods is excited.

    She’s coming off the momentum of helping to bring the national Day of Racial Healing to Arizona.

    To honor Martin Luther King Day, Scott Woods and her supporters joined people in dozens of other cities around the U.S. to pray and meditate and share speeches and proclamations that affirm the inherent value in people from all backgrounds.

    It was Arizona’s first time participating in the 4-year-old movement.

    Supporters got a legislative proclamation read at the State Capitol.

    It began, “Whereas … working earnestly to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic and religious bias can build an equitable and just society so that all children can thrive…”

    It was signed by State Rep. Reginald Bolding, who concluded the document with a request that people celebrate King’s legacy “beyond a single holiday.”

    Meanwhile, Phoenix’s Mayor Kate Gallego signed a similar proclamation, declaring each Tuesday after King Day from here forward as a Day of Racial Healing in the state’s largest city.

    Scott Woods, a retired educator and counselor, sees the book as an essential next step.

    Maybe. I worry about apathy, exhaustion and resignation.

    I worry that people from privileged backgrounds who might have something to learn about how to be an ally will see the book club and say, “Hey, I’m not a racist. Why should I need that?”

    I worry that blacks and Latinos who might have something to gain from sharing their stories will see the book club and say, “I’m a minority all day, every day. The last thing I want is to spend more time thinking about it.”

    Change can’t come without people talking and listening to one another.

    That’s how Scott Woods, a white woman, got to this point.

    She says her activism started by cleaning up a vandalized memorial for Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed black man who was killed in an encounter with a Phoenix police officer in 2014.

    She ended up going to every city council session and every civilian review board meeting she could to speak out and show support.

    “You get moved when you hear people tell what’s happened to them,” she said. “You see that it’s real. …. I don’t think I was really aware until I heard people speaking from their hearts.”

    At a minimum, her story is a blueprint for how people can get out of their bubbles to work for change.

    She started with compassion and was inspired to action.

     “Racial healing has to be everybody’s responsibility,” she said. “Empathy is going to transform people’s hearts and bodies.”

      Let’s hope she’s right.

     Reach Moore at 602-444-2236 or gmoore@azcentral.com. Follow on Instagram and Twitter

Book Club Details WHEN: 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 22 WHERE: Barnes & Noble, 10235 N. Metro Parkway East, Phoenix, Arizona 85051 Register: https://tinyurl.com/qw2khve