How to Reflect and Heal Right Now - OZY | A Modern Media Company

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because large-scale change does not have to leave you feeling powerless.

The pandemic, the resulting economic crisis and the national unrest surrounding police brutality have made 2020 emotionally and physically exhausting for a lot of Americans. Moreover, mental health practitioners are much harder to access than ever before, given social distancing rules and financial constraints. All of these issues are greatly affecting the mental health of American communities of color, who already face steeper challenges in accessing mental health care.

Luckily, therapists and healing practitioners are stepping up.

Some, like writer Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, are raising money to support therapy for young Black women. Cargle founded the Loveland Foundation in 2018 to fund high-quality, culturally competent therapy sessions.

According to Cargle, the foundation raised more than $35,000 in May, with social media driving a surge amid the Black Lives Matter protests.

Some are cultivating virtual spaces to empower and refresh Black communities. Aki Hirata Baker, one of the founders of Minka Brooklyn, says she created the collective to “allow for people of color to be teachers and wisdom holders,” an opportunity they are not often afforded in most healing spaces. Minka Brooklyn hosts regular healing sessions on Facebook Live and Instagram Live and offers an online membership for personal consultations. Baker co-created the organization when she noticed that healing practitioners were predominantly white, despite their use of practices created by indigenous and African cultures.

How am I going to remember my power so that I can solve this problem?

Aki Hirata Baker, on how she guides people to heal

In response to the current atmosphere, Baker suggests that the best way to heal is to ask: “How am I going to remember my power so that I can solve this problem?” As we face a crossroads in history, she says, we must tap into our “internal power” to combat feelings of powerlessness.

Other organizations like HealHaus and metaDEN are similarly providing virtual restorative and meditation spaces via Instagram and Facebook, as well as resources on activism and donations for those in need. 

Their goal is to revitalize and empower people to participate in protests. Baker is not hitting the streets because of the coronavirus risks. She argues that people focused on therapy and healing like her are a hidden force within movements. “We have to make sure that everyone can be the activist that they can be,” she says. “I am a healing practitioner; I teach people that they can remember their power to be an activist.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Aki Hirata Baker as immunocompromised.

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