2022 Program Topic:
Health Care/Mental Health
Friday November 18
What is food, and how is it central to timely and urgent conversations around identity, racial justice, community organizing, environmental activism, and decolonization? For so many people, especially BIPOC, food is so much more than what goes in our bellies. It is a lifeline back to other homelands, a conduit for immigrant parents’ love, a medicine that transcends borders, or a map that tells stories of resistance, migration, struggle, survival, and joy. Christopher Tse and Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal will facilitate an interactive space in which we explore and reclaim our relationships with food, community, and identity. Through small group work, circle, and storytelling approaches, this workshop seeks to unpack questions such as: “What’s your favorite cultural practice around food?” “What’s an example of a time you felt embarrassed or ashamed about food?” and “How do you cook your rice?”
In a time of globalization and easy access to other cultures, food has become yet another site of colonialism, power, and white supremacy. Celebrity chefs rave about the utility of turmeric and star anise while gentrification shuts down old kitchen bastions of racialized communities and replaces them with culinary fusion cafes that photograph well for social media. It’s time to reclaim these stories. This workshop is for every kid who’s ever been afraid to open their lunchbox in the cafeteria. We see you, we’ve been there. Let’s talk about shame, and joy, and cut fruit. Let’s talk about spices and identity. Let’s talk about how we cook rice.
Indigenous people have been under attack since colonization became a reality on our land. We have foreign institutions labeling Indigenous folks with Severe Mental Illness and with an array of social dysfunctions. What they don't consider is the level of cultural attachment to Indigenous ways and the lack of wanting to align with the colonized mainstream society. We are that bridge that helps our relatives navigate the institutions and find resources that can assist with services to get people on their feet and on a path that aligns with their higher purpose.
There are behavioral health programs starting up all around us and they are not understanding the historical trauma of Indigenous folks. They are not understanding our upbringing and the reasons behind the substance abuse. This often leads to misinterpretations of the client and creating a proper treatments plan that will lead to a successful recovery.
By using the upcoming film The Color of Care Picture Motion will describe how films can be used to create successful impact campaigns.
The Color of Care is a new documentary that traces the origins of racial health disparities to practices that began during slavery in the U.S. and continue today. Using moving testimony from those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 and frontline medical workers in overwhelmed hospitals, it interweaves expert interviews and powerful data to expose the devastating toll of embedded racism in our healthcare system.
Saturday November 19
"Racism, or discrimination based on race or ethnicity, is a key contributing factor in the onset of disease. It is also responsible for increasing disparities in physical and mental health among Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)." (Lewsley 2020). When you layer on taking on the charge to initiate change, being a leader in movements, and holding space for healing from race-based trauma, the stress become compounded. Wellness and wellness practices are essential components to counterbalance, heal, and recuperate from the impact of race equity work. Often times, spaces for rest are not accessible, not created, are underfunded, or are not elevated as a crucial component of race equity work. Wellness Through Movement is a session that focuses on understanding the dynamics of self-care and offering space for recuperation for attendees. The objective of the session is for participants to engage in dance therapy techniques, movement, and mindfulness practices for rejuvenation. Participants will be guided through reflections on holistic self-care practices and leave with tools that they can integrate for more balanced and effective living. Participants will learn about components of self-care, the impact of stress on the body, the impact of race-based stress on the body, and methods to create a holistic approach to caring for self. This training is grounded in Audre Lorde's assertion of self-care as a necessary means of self-preservation. "You are a precious resource...you have a right to health and peace of mind." (Romm)
State-sanctioned violence (SSV) has been a fixture of the U.S. since its founding, and resilience for BIPOC communities has always included grieving and resisting state-sanctioned violence. The breakout will be an interactive session discussing and exploring ways to apply a toolkit of strategies communities might engage to strengthen and maintain resilience while working for change. Facilitators are clinical psychologists with community organizing backgrounds, who draw from pro-Black and prison abolition organizing experiences as well as their training as community-oriented clinical psychologists. We utilize the framework of the Transconceptual Model of Empowerment and Resilience (TMER) to conceptualize the process of community resilience, including the five sets of resilience resources: skills, community resources, self-efficacy, knowledge, and maintenance (Brodsky & Cattaneo, 2013). The toolkit draws on psychology research on resilience, brought into conversation with organizing efforts among populations targeted by SSV. Strategies are presented not as a means to better cope with SSV, but rather as methods for communities contending with SSV to build internal sustainability that shores up their efforts in procuring safety, healing, justice, and ultimately, uprooting white body supremacy. Drawing from the ongoing efforts of community stakeholders reflects our belief that communities are already fostering and have the capability to intentionally actualize these resilience resources. The toolkit is meant to be of practical use for organizers, community members, and psychologists as they work to support community resilience and build a society free from state-sanctioned violence.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is a 175-year-old institution that recently established its Center for Health Equity in 2019. The Center is leveraging GARE’s Normalize-Organize-Operationalize framework to visualize health and racial equity across the AMA. As an institution, we seek to foster accountability and reflect on how we have helped and/or harmed efforts to advance equity. This workshop will share the strategies we are using and lessons learned as we strive to become an anti-racist institution.
The AMA is centering a trauma-informed approach to this work, recognizing that efforts to advance equity within institutions often burden staff from marginalized and minoritized communities. By incorporating trauma-informed principles, we hope to mitigate harm to staff most impacted by inequities on our journey to embed equity.
The last two years of the pandemic and racial uprisings have laid bare the inequities within communities, systems, and institutions. Now more than ever before institutions must take a step back and reflect on how they are helping or harming efforts to advance health and racial equity. The workshop will engage participants through breakout discussions exploring each of the Normalize, Organize, and Operationalize approaches. Attendees are invited to share how they are using these approaches or how they could begin to utilize the framework. The lessons learned from our first three years of this work will help inform others as they embark upon transforming their respective institutions.
From Plantation to Psych Ward: How Disability Justice Shapes Abolition and Black Liberation will examine how reforms from enslavement, policing, and mass incarceration will inevitably lead to more and more incarceration in a different way, possibly psychiatric institutionalization, which coincides and runs alongside prison and jail carcerality to create systems of disappearance and strip people of their humanity and autonomy. We will examine together historical examples of how ableism has been used to uplift racism, enslavement, and oppression. We will draw comparisons between psychiatric institutions and prisons and jails that show the insidiousness between the two institutions. And we will be creating our own plans of how to address these reforms to stop them in their tracks and reach true abolition to keep our communities safe, not caged, and thrive without fear of incarceration.
In October 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Health Justice published Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts. Designed for physicians and other healthcare professionals, the guide aims to promote an understanding of equity-focused, person-first language and why it matters, while at the same time opening discussion about dominant narratives in medicine (particularly narratives around race, gender, meritocracy, and individualism).
In this interactive session, we explore the need for this guide and through an interactive writing exercise, develop ways of confronting and overcoming resistance to narrative change. The guide has generated a great deal of discussion in medicine, with some praising it as a vitally needed component of health equity work, and others rejecting it as an act of language policing.
Our workshop is designed around a simple but powerful strategy to support participants in building narrative power. In facilitated small groups, participants will develop a short piece of text – something that could be developed into a letter to their physician or local community hospital (calling for or supporting their efforts regarding language and narrative), or could take the form of a start of an op ed or newspaper story. These pieces would take an element from the guide (e.g., critique of the notion of “vulnerability”) and apply / extend that work to a local context. These pieces of writing, in turn, could then be featured in updated AMA / AAMC Center for Health Justice materials.