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Racial Healing

For the last two years, I have been humbled to bear witness to an incredible youth racial healing project in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. As an approach to improving community health, the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center brought together 16 youth, half of whom identify as white and half of whom identify as people of color, to participate in a year-long racial healing and reconciliation process. Through readings, racial affinity groups, workshops, healing circles and speak outs, the youth are challenged to move beyond purely intellectual conversations about race and racism and are supported by each other and a team of community organizers and social workers, to experience the feelings that come up when we talk about racism and understand the ways it shapes our existence. The youth invited a camera to follow some of their activities, community teachings, and an emotional speak out activity.  I am thrilled to share with you this video documenting part of their process and their call to action:

Please take 15 mins to watch this video and allow yourself to have, and even express, the feelings that come up. That is their charge to us. Racial healing is the work required for and by each of us so we can live into our full humanity.

“Racial equity is about the system, racial healing is about the individual. This is what America Healing is about.” – Rinku Sen, Applied Research Center


Nashira Baril

Nashira Baril has a Masters in Public Health and is the Co-Director, of the Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, A Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities at the Boston Public Health Commission.

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charmian (Rhode Island) September 20, 2012

At first I thought this was going to be about mixed race people but it was a mixed race of people or person. I am a mixed race person and we relate to this and also have the added dilemma of identity, affiliation and validated culturally.

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Keywords: racial healing, social justice, community psychology practice, gjcpp