Creating a Healing Community
May has been a month of mayhem. With COVID-19 continuing and an upsurge of graphic content of social injustices via police brutality on social media, May has been a very trying month. This is especially true for people of color who are becoming emotionally exhausted by the act of violence that communities of color, particularly melanated people, have to face everyday by living in a country built on racism. Through the smokescreen of anger and confusion how do we protect our individual peace and heal our communities? With acts of community healing.
What is community healing? According to a paper from the Aboriginal Community Healing Process in Canada, community healing is defined as “a way to make a community well again following a traumatic experience.” Oftentimes, tragedy seems to be the genre that captures underserved neighborhoods. With everything that has transpired and come to light this month, let’s remember to come together as a community to heal in order to build a better future for ourselves and the next generation.
Here are 5 things that you can do to help heal your community:
Talk about the injustice together
Engage in a community project
Connect with nature
Mobilize to discuss the community issues with a government official
Engage in joy
#1 - Talk about the injustice as a community
Those at the helm of social injustices feed off of the silence and division of the communities they try to oppress. Do not let them prosper. As a community we need to come together to mourn, to talk about long-term solutions, and to act in order to invoke change but also reiterate to those who are afraid that THEY ARE NOT ALONE.
#2 - Engage in a community project
Whether working with your local city government to plan a beautification project, having a community-wide block party to celebrate our neighborhood home, working together to help a fellow neighbor, or coordinating a peaceful protest to demand change, engaging in a community project with your neighbors sends a strong message throughout our underserved communities that we are one and will build as one.
#3 - Connect with nature
Nature. Connecting with nature, whether going for a walk, taking care of your garden, attending to your houseplants, and playing or even reading a book outside, is such a humbling and invigorating experience. Nature reminds us that good things take time, that we as human beings are connected to a bigger life, and that we all have a role to play in protecting our (natural) home.
#4 - Mobilize to discuss the community issues with local government officials
Our government (i.e. local, state, and national) exists to manage the public goods we share within our communities and to be champions for the community they serve. Through the taxes we pay, we provide these government officials with the financial resources to address our needs. And through our vote, as a community agree to give SHARE our power with these elected individuals in order for them to be champions for our community. In simpler words, we the people are the government (we’re the boss) and we hire elected officials to execute our needs. Therefore, mobilizing to discuss the community issues with local government officials is our civic duty as a community and a necessary process in our healing.
#5 - Seek Joy
During times like these when we are bombarded with hurt, seeking joy seems exhausting. But at the end of the day it is necessary. Watch a comedy, have dinner with loved ones, call up a friend, or spread love to your neighbors with kind acts.
Photo credit: Ron Smith