A few days ago @jennydeluxe posted about healers, reminding us that healing is important in these times. It made me want to put together a resource around healing and self-care, particularly as related to vicarious trauma and burnout, two things that can happen when organizing and doing advocacy work. The work of addressing and dismantling the anti-Black racism embedded within our systems and our lives is fundamental and crucial. To support the longevity—and to respect the importance—of this movement requires doing this work in a sustainable way.
Here is a non-comprehensive toolkit about the ways trauma manifests in our bodies and some ways we can practice self-care. There’s a longer accessible zine at bit.ly/vicarioustraumatoolkit. Most of the ways we practice self-care are ultimately up to us, but it can be valuable just to know and name what’s going on when we begin to feel overwhelmed.
I want to bring attention to the fact that right now, Black people are experiencing not only the vicarious trauma and burnout of organizing and leading this movement but also the direct and profound trauma of centuries of anti-Black racism. It’s compounded. Trauma responses show up differently for everyone, and if you’re not Black, right now that response is going to look different than for someone who is Black. So listen and respect that difference of experience.
We can’t practice self-care without community care, and for people with trauma, it’s even harder to practice self-care without community care. If you are someone who isn’t experiencing direct trauma right now I encourage you to donate to a mutual aid fund and/or find other ways to provide care to your community and neighborhood.
I write this from my perspective as a NBPOC. Keep showing up at protests, keep doing jail support, keep calling, keep writing emails, keep donating. Make time for healing too. There are a lot of ways to go about it and some might involve putting your energy into your neighborhood and the people around you. Solidarity to the Black organizers leading this movement right now. Fuck the police. Drink some water. Black Lives Matter. We have imagined a better world, let’s get there.