“We know why Covid is killing so many black people.”
In this New York Times Opinion piece, the author Dr Sabrina Strings, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine, concludes, drawing on scientific research, and analyses of African American people’s health, that
“obesity — and its affiliated, if incorrect implication of poor lifestyle choices — should not be front and center when it comes to understanding how this pandemic has affected African-Americans. Even before Covid-19, black Americans had higher rates of multiple chronic illnesses and a lower life expectancy than white Americans, regardless of weight. This is an indication that our social structures are failing us. These failings — and the accompanying embrace of the belief that black bodies are uniquely flawed — are rooted in a shameful era of American history that took place hundreds of years before this pandemic.”
Read the full New York Times article HERE.
Coming to the Table is a national organization whose vision for the United States is of “a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past – from slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned.” It started its work in 2006 from the efforts of Susan Hutchison and Will Hairston, both descendants of European heritage enslavers who had formed bonds with descendants of people their ancestors had enslaved.
The name of the organization comes from the “I Have a Dream” speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King. The mission of Coming to the Table is to “provide leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.” Coming to the Table promotes four approaches to achieving its mission.
Coming to the Table holds National Gatherings every two years. There are also local groups around the country. Another national but virtual component of Coming to the Table are its working groups, such as the Linked Descendants working group.
Through the Coming to the Table website, anyone may have access to a set of recommended resources. STAR, Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience, is a workshop. Transforming Historical focuses STAR on the trans-generational transmission of harms done by injustice and inequity. Other resources come from the domain of Restorative Justice.
In the local and national gatherings of Coming to the Table, two tools are used consistently: the Circle Process and These Guidelines for Sensitive or Challenging Conversations. The book, Gather at the Table, is an accessible entry into Coming to the Table’s work and a good starting point for conversation.
Kellogg Foundation‘s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) enterprise has initiated a national process aimed at addressing centuries of racial inequities in the United States. TRHT seeks to advance racial healing in communities across the country to create environments where everyone can thrive. It is based on the understanding that the roots of slavery is the belief in a hierarchy of human value, and by jettisoning such a belief, and transforming our collective consciousness, we can re-envisioning a more humane, equitable and loving society.
The Design of TRHT focuses on changing narratives, enabling healing and relationship building, developing more systemic transformation through law and economy. For more information on the TRHT, please read:
The partners have intended for the October 2018 Symposium to be truly dialogic and therefore, the provisional agenda allows much space for in-depth conversations and discussions amongst the contributors.
The Symposium will begin with two important sessions, one on the historical contexts of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery, and the other on the psychosocial consequences of that slave history. These two sessions would provide the group with shared understanding of the trans-Atlantic slave histories and the resulting cultural and psychological traumas experienced by African Americans and their descendants. They help us to see more clearly the current deep-seated institutionalised racial prejudices, racism and discrimination in contemporary societies across the Americas.
For the greater part, the Symposium contributors will work in small groups for deeper and more focused dialogue about key questions concerning healing, and mutual recovery.
Most importantly, the participants will review existing healing endeavours in the Americas and identify meaningful and innovative ideas for possible grassroots and community-based projects.
UNESCO Symposium, October 2018, Agenda.
Entitled “Healing the Wounds of Slavery: Towards a Mutual Recovery“, the Symposium is co-organised by the UNESCO and GHFP, and hosted by the Berkley Centre at the Georgetown University, Washington DC. on 18-19 Oct. 2018.
This dialogue amongst carefully selected multidisciplinary experts is envisioned to address the root causes of racial prejudices, racism and discrimination derived from slavery, past and present. In particular, this symposium
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