“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”
RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE – CREATING A SAFE SPACE
To listen and learn from each other
To have agreements – “What does mutual respect look like?”
BEGINNING OUR DIALOGUE
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.
DEEPENING OUR CONVERSATION
What aspect of your racial or ethnic identity makes you the proudest?
CLOSING OUR CONVERSATION
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 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
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