Here’s how to start — and continue — the ‘Day of Healing’
The fight against the systemic brutalization of Black bodies started long before the heinous murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. We have a long history of trauma and abuse at the hands of white America. But through it all we always have found ways to nourish, support and heal ourselves and our communities.
On Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s tragic death, WURD Radio dedicated a “Day of Healing” to spotlighting some of Philadelphia’s most prolific community organizers, entrepreneurs, artists and activists bringing health, vitality and hope to our people. In case you missed it, here’s a playlist of those interviews, including two special panels:
- WURD Radio CEO and President Sara Lomax-Reese moderated a discussion with three generations of artist-activist-warrior women, Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker and Kai Davis.
- Michael O’Bryan, founder of HD2 Solutions and director of learning at the Village of Arts, and Kevin Brown, principal of KIB Consulting and host of Men’s Coffee Talk, joined Evening WURDS’ “Day of Healing” panel titled “Soul Survivors – Black Men Nourishing Mind, Body and Spirit.”
Here are some takeaway strategies from those conversations to help you heal and find wellness.
Embrace your power
“Stop believing that Black people don’t have power. Part of our healing is stopping that,” said “Wake Up With WURD” host Solomon Jones. “The whole ‘we don’t have power’ thing — stop saying that, stop believing that, because it’s nonsense. It’s not true.”
Seek out people with whom you can be open
Kai Davis, a Black queer Philadelphia writer, performer, and teaching artist, said she has drawn strength from being with friends: “Cultivating these spaces with my friends, now that we’ve all been vaccinated, to just be with each other. And sometimes there’s no agenda, and that’s perfectly fine.”
“Be in the company of other people who can help to have that dialogue about how you feel about what you just experienced, because that’s going to determine how you behave,” said Dr. Helena Fontes of the NewView Institute.
Do your homework — then get to work
Fontes recommends asking yourself: “How can I make a change? How can I make a difference? How can I change my community? How can I help others to change the way that they think or the way they have been impacted or how they heal, based on my skill set? What do I have to offer to my community?”
During her segment on “Wake Up With WURD,” community organizer and activist Melissa Robbins discussed the urgent need for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Read about the bill, then reach out to your local members of Congress to ask them to take action.
Learning about our collective history also provides a deeper understanding of traumas we have experienced — and survived — as a people. Ursula Rucker spoke of a light-bulb moment her son had while watching the HBO series “Lovecraft Country,” which portrays Jim Crow America of the ‘50s.
Other media recommendations: New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project and Barry Jenkins’ “Underground Railroad” series on Amazon Prime Video, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Allow yourself to just … feel
CNN commentator Roxanne Jones urged listeners to allow themselves to feel both sadness and joy — in all forms.
For Davis, that involves the power of water: “I’ve been making sure that I have some time to, like, just stand in some water or, like, get to the shore or just something that makes me feel cleansed and healed.”
Rucker spoke of feeling compelled to create art. Celebrating our existence and seeing our beauty reflected in all kinds of art forms can be healing. Some recommendations: The works of Toni Morrison; The Colored Girls Museum; Ava Duvernay’s OWN television series “Queen Sugar”; and the new Netflix documentary “In Our Mothers’ Gardens.”
Protect your peace and prioritize wellness
Limit repeated exposure to traumatic events. You can turn off the television. Protect what you allow into your thoughts.
Sonia Sanchez espouses the healing properties of walking and yoga, as do the Twin Sister Docs, Drs. Delana Wardlaw and Elena McDonald.
WURD Radio CEO and President Sara Lomax-Reese recommends the Liberate meditation app, geared toward Black people. And Dr. Fontes suggests considering counseling or therapy, if you’re able to do so. Fontes said professionals are trained to apply empathetic listening, display compassion and provide professional advice on how to process traumatic events — and tools for doing so.