Community Healing Network Promotes Mental Health and Black Liberation
Global organization continues Garvey’s legacy through collective healing
During what activists call “Black August,” Africans in the United States and around the world honor black political prisoners and commemorate the birth of Jamaican-born Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a 20th-century black nationalist who married racial pride and autonomy.
As Africans around the world continually strive to reverse the lingering and lingering effects of colonialism and chattel slavery imposed on people in the diaspora, an organization aims to demystify what its founder and president, Enola Aird, described as “the lie of white superiority”. and black inferiority.
For Aird and other affiliates of the Community Healing Network (CHN), accomplishing this feat requires that Africans no longer characterize the struggle for liberation as a “struggle”, but as a journey that will ultimately lead to the realization of an Africa modern. Renaissance.
“Africa is the cradle of civilization [and] the lie of white supremacy erased rich African history,” said Aird, a descendant of an early 20th-century Garveyite.
“When we peel it off and say we won’t collaborate with it, we have a renewed African narrative that is rooted in our Africanness. Marcus Garvey tells us that we have a great history and that we must build this future. The lie is the barrier to this future.
While African Americans report mental health issues at about the same rate as their white counterparts, their collective and cross-generational experience in the United States has been filled with violence and systemic oppression, which has left a traumatic impact on the population.
Additionally, structural inequalities and anti-Black institutions limit African Americans’ access to quality health care, housing, and other resources. The pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities.
Amid the chaos, CHN continues a tradition established in the 1960s with the creation of Black Psychology. Black psychology, as defined by researchers Kobi Kambon and Na’im Akbar, creates a system through which African reality can be discovered, articulated and applied. The field of study also imparts a perspective and understanding of African peoples who originated in pre-colonial Africa, and not just as a result of the effects of those who colonized African peoples.
Since its inception in 2006, CHN, based in New Haven, Connecticut, has sponsored community events, in conjunction with the American Association of Black Psychologists, at which several people of African descent participate in healing exercises to cope to the trauma experienced today. , and addressing those experienced by previous generations.
In years past, CHN has taken its message on the road with a global Truth campaign and tour that has stopped in the District, New Haven, Connecticut, Richmond, Virginia, Kingston , Jamaica, Pasadena, California, and other cities. Most recently, CHN participated in the Advancing Justice: Reparations and Racial Healing Summit in Accra, Ghana, organized by the Global Circle for Reparations, an African-American cohort of reparations advocates.
Prior to the pandemic, the CHN hosted its latest iteration of the Valuing Black Lives Global Emancipation Summit, where African leaders around the world map out plans to challenge anti-blackness-infused World War II narratives.
Organizers have since continued the work virtually through Emotional Empowerment Circles (EEC) and Ubuntu Rapid Response Healing Circles. On the third weekend of October, CHN will also hold its Community Healing Days, where black people celebrate community healers and wear sky blue as a symbol of their limitless possibilities.
More than 1,000 leaders have been trained to lead EWCs and other events in the United States and around the world. These offerings aim to ground participants in their African culture and foster appreciation for their ancestry and family.
The ultimate goal, as EEC certified trainer Lester Bentley explained, is to create cultural practices to remind Africans of their connection to one another.
Bentley, a mental health counselor based in New Haven, said colonization, chattel slavery and other evils committed against black people tore at the fabric of what many had called their culture. This is why he stressed that people of African descent should take every opportunity to practice the West African concept of Sankofa of looking back to move forward.
“The CHN’s programming to destroy the white supremacy lie will be somewhat different [from place to place]but pretty much the same globally,” Bentley said.
“We succeed in recognizing the multifaceted aspects of colonialism and oppressions, so we need to use different tools to support the emancipation of people, however they define it. This part is revolutionary.
For more information on the Community Healing Network, visit https://communityhealingnet.org/.