Project connects community to therapists of color to heal racial trauma

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Kalamazoo (TRHT) is partnering with Rootead Enrichment Center and local community groups to connect residents to therapists of color in order to heal racial trauma and is looking for a coordinator for the pilot project.
 
"Healing from the generational trauma of racism is key to creating a community where all people are valued and move in their power," said Ed Genesis, organizer and TRHT Racial Healing Design team member. "There is a lot of healing that must be done between white people and people of color. However, we know people of color have healing to do among ourselves and within ourselves as well. That's what this project is all about."
 
The Black & Brown Therapy collective was developed to:
  • Cover the costs of therapy for residents dealing with racial trauma for those who are not covered by insurance
  • Create a therapy referral resource to non-profits, organizers and the broader community who are working directly with communities of color
  • Facilitate connections between Black and Brown residents and clinicians
  • Reduce mental health stigma within the Black and Brown community, increase ability to seek help
  • Provide ongoing healing resources, make referrals to emergency services as needed
  • Build relationships with emergency and other mental health services to better serve people in mental health crises related to racialized trauma.
“Community care is so important now and always,” said Kama Mitchell, Artistic Director and Queen Doula of Rootead. “Having lived experience be reflected back to you from a therapist that has had similar lived experiences can create a healing relationship that supersedes one based on insurance and access. Representation deeply matters for de-stigmatizing black and brown mental health.”

“Cultural mistrust and access to culturally relevant mental health care are two significant factors in the underutilization of mental health services in our community,” said Dr. Kenlana Ferguson, Director of the Kalamazoo College Counseling Center. “This collective will address these barriers by giving Black and Brown survivors in our community access to Black and Brown clinicians who are slow to pathologize and will instead help them understand the impact of oppression on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Clinicians who understand the human need for safety and being understood, heard, and seen as more pressing than what one did, did not, or will do. Clinicians who understand the therapeutic relationship as a conduit for healing, growth, and change. Clinicians who understand that healing racial trauma must accompany the fight for justice. These Black and Brown clinicians are among the best in Kalamazoo and the survivors in our community deserve our best.”

The project, hosted by Rootead, is a six-month pilot project created in partnership with Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community (ISAAC), Urban Alliance, Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, Hope thru Navigation, Gryphon Place, and El Concilio. The services are open to all Black and Brown residents, but intentional outreach will be done to families of victims and perpetrators of gun violence; youth of the Fire Arts Collaborative; community advocates and organizers for racial justice; Kalamazoo Valley Community College students and; expectant parents.

"We are grateful for this partnership which affords us the opportunity to connect Black & Brown citizens returning from the traumas of incarceration to the racial, trauma-informed care that the Black & Brown Therapy Collective will afford them," said Gwendolyn Hooker, CEO of H.O.P.E. Thru Navigation. 
 
The Black & Brown Therapy Collective is hiring a coordinator to support the program. Interested candidates can learn more about the position here and apply by Friday, December 4. 
 
About Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Kalamazoo, hosted by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, is a community-based movement to bring about transformational and sustainable change to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Kalamazoo is one of 13 TRHT locations nationwide, and one in four in Michigan (the others include Flint, Lansing, and Battle Creek). TRHT was launched in 2016 by W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Learn more at trhtkzoo.org.
 
About Rootead Enrichment Center
Rootead offers healing arts and birth work programs that are diverse, inclusive, anti-racist and trauma informed. In order to be equitable, all services offered through the Enrichment Center are available at low-to-no cost. Learn more at rootead.org

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