Healing Justice - Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter Foundation

Healing Justice

In many ways, at its essence BLM is a response to the persistent and historical trauma Black people have endured at the hands of the State. This trauma and pain, unresolved and unhealed, lives on in our bodies, in our relationships, and in what we create together. Since the inception of BLM, organizers and healers have taken this understanding of historical and generational trauma and made it the foundation of our healing circles, of creative and liberatory space held amidst actions, of our attempts to resolve conflict and division in ways that don’t replicate harm or rely on carceral ways of being with one another. It’s not an easy road; healing individual and community trauma while organizing to make real change in Black lives. But it’s what we know has to be done.

Cara Page and Kindred Southern Healing Collective, through their work and commitment to our communities, offered and recovered from ancestral knowledge a framework for healing justice that guides and supports BLM’s vision. We see healing justice as necessary in a society that criminalizes Blackness and structurally ensures trauma for Black people while creating no space or time resource for healing. In this context, how we treat ourselves, how we treat each other, and how we move through conflict become deeply political explorations in liberation. Healing justice also informs our organizing and causes us to hold accountable those institutions such as the medical industrial complex, including mental health apparatus, that promise healing and care, but harm, traumatize, and pathologize our people. Healing justice requires that we listen beyond the understandings we’ve been given of spirit and ancestors, and asks us to both recover and create self-determined and effective rituals, processes for the kind of healing we need. Healing justice, then, makes room for the role of healer, for the practice of community care, in our work to get free. It makes more visible all the work of rigorous love more visible, more dynamic, and more possible.

Healing Justice: Ten Reasons Why

  1. Trauma, violence, and oppression live on and through our bodies limiting our experience, our connection, and choice.
  2. Freedom for Black people must include healing that address the individual and collective, the current and the generational pain.
  3. Our healing brings us into new kinds of relationships with one another.
  4. Healing justice and transformative justice remind us that conflict can be generative and a way to care for each other and learn more about our needs and boundaries.
  5. Healing allows us to move away from scarcity and fear and into connection and choice.
  6. The trauma Black people feel is compounded, often constant and complex. Building a world that creates space and time for Black people to heal and limits the trauma they experience requires a deep reworking and reimagining of relationships and institutions.
  7. Healing, culture, and spirit have always sustained us and informed our struggles for liberation.
  8. Healing justice allows us a place to practice the care with each other that we each deserve.
  9. Healing justice makes care political in a world that harms and dehumanizes Black bodies.
  10. Healing justice makes it possible to transform and heal a legacy of trauma for future generations of Black people.