Healing past wounds for a healthier future
by Adrian Tyler
San Francisco – The annual Black Health and Healing Summit will take place the first weekend in June, June 1-3, in San Francisco and is expected to attract hundreds of health care professionals and community activists seeking to learn more about Black health inequities and strategies for improvement, as participants also experience the groundbreaking work of Dr. Joy DeGruy, the author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.”
“The theory of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome suggests that centuries of slavery, followed by systemic racism and oppression, have resulted in multigenerational adaptive behaviors – some of which have been positive and reflective of resilience, and others that are detrimental and destructive,” says DeGruy, who holds degrees in social work and clinical psychology.
Her workshops aim to guide participants toward unlocking their own truths by critically evaluating history. “Healing begins by simply telling the truth,” says DeGruy, who will focus her remarks and workshop sessions around the West African concept of Sankofa – learning from the past to build for the future.
The three-day health summit is organized and presented by the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness and will be held at the Rafiki Wellness Center, 601 Cesar Chavez St. in San Francisco. Early registration at http://tinyurl.com/rafikisummit10 is encouraged for this free community event, which is partially funded by the Department of Justice and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
A pre-conference drumming ceremony begins on Thursday, June 1, at 3 p.m.; the keynote addresses and conference workshops will take place on Friday and Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Lunch is included.
“We are excited to have Dr. Joy join us again this year,” said Dr. Monique LeSarre, executive director of Rafiki Coalition. “In the wake of the attacks on ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act), it is more important than ever that we educate and organize ourselves for the health care battles on the horizon.”
The three-day health summit is organized and presented by the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness and will be held at the Rafiki Wellness Center, 601 Cesar Chavez St. in San Francisco.
In addition to presentations by Dr. DeGruy, other conference highlights include sessions on “The State of Black Health in San Francisco,” a panel discussion which will underscore specific details and statistics around the health inequity facing Black people in San Francisco, and “Hands, Spirits and Minds: Multiple Perspectives on Wellness and Healing,” a panel discussion about the benefits of complementary medicine in the Black community.
The summit will also feature local performers and artists, as well as others from New York City, New Orleans and Portland. Participants will be able to experience free therapeutic massages, acupuncture and chiropractic services. A vendor fair and farmers market will also be operating on Saturday, the final day of the summit.
This year’s Black Health and Healing Summit will be the 10th health conference organized by Rafiki Coalition. Past summits have been held at San Francisco State University and have served as an information, education and organizing forum for the agency and the African American Community Health Equity Council (AACHEC), a volunteer community research and policy group.
Rafiki Coalition, formerly the Black Coalition on AIDS, is a holistic community wellness organization dedicated to eliminating health disparities in Black and marginalized communities. Its center features exercise classes, nutrition workshops, health education forums, health screenings and complementary medicine services. The agency also manages an 11-bed transitional housing facility for homeless HIV-positive men and women.
“There is much to be learned and shared,” said LeSarre. “It’s all about healing past wounds in order to ensure a healthier future.”