The Village Keepers Project at “Be The Healing” Conference

April 30, 2021, Chicago, IL – Staff from Blocks Together presented workshops on the community-based organizations trauma-responsive work at the Be The Healing conference. The keynote for both days was Dr. Joy Degruy, author of “Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome.” BT staff was instrumental in the planning of the conference that was a collaboration of multiple organizations including: Organic Oneness, UCAN, the West Humboldt Park/Garfield Park Community Action Council, the University of Chicago’s Education Lab, and the Chicago Public Schools.

The Be the Healing Conference addressed topics of systemic racism derived from Anti-Blackness, inter-generational and historical trauma, structural violence, mental health and COVID-19, sexism and xenophobia. This conference provided improvement strategies through an inspirational and solution-oriented lens. This year’s conference convened online via Zoom.

The session shared the origins of this innovative project that provides students and community members with training and resources to address trauma and resolve conflicts within their homes, schools, and communities. The discussion with panelists: Carolina Gaete (Executive Dir.), Lolanda Mills (Office Manage), Keith Muhammad (SCS Resources Coordinator), and Troy Withers (Trauma Services Coordinator) was moderated by Keith Kelley (Restorative Practices Coordinator). Troy Withers also presented also workshop on the relationship between trauma and nutrition. Keith Muhammad and Keith Kelley co-facilitated one of the intergenerational “community conversations” for West Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and North Lawndale with two youth from UCAN on the second day of the conference.

Unlike most conferences, Be The Healing intentionally built follow-up into its structure. The next “community conversation” around trauma and healing for West Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and North Lawndale will be on (or around) May 30, 2021. For more information, visit the Organic Oneness site for more information on Be The Healing.

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