Reclaiming our Lives: A Chocolate Soul Revival

For: Ratasha Elise
Organizer: Pamela Worth
$2,873
of $6,500 goal
44% Complete
Raised by 46 donors

The Story

“Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.” ― Wangari Maathai

How do those targeted by centuries of structural racism thrive and flourish in the face of it? How do we shape lives that honor the fullness our humanity? How do we reclaim the wisdom of our Ancestors while also applying new understandings?

An answer that myself and others have found to these question begins with prioritizing Healing Justice.

Chocolate Soul Revival was created by a team of Black women artists, healers, activists, and cultural workers who all exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. Though there is nothing marginal about our capacity to restore ourselves and each other. Our healing justice work encompasses racial justice with a focus on equity, gender justice, and economic justice. Applying a holistic lens, we are integrating life-giving tools and methodologies to support our own healing, wellness, empowerment, and community building. We are literally transforming the world, beginning with ourselves.

Our ongoing work includes 1 on 1 sessions, community healing circles, workshops, intensives, and arts infused healing work. Through a decolonial Black queer feminist lens, we are committed to centering the experiences and voices of those most marginalized amongst us; Black trans and cis women, femmes, gender non-binary, queer, youth, economically disenfranchised, cash poor, and folks with disabilities. We're committed to being both community informed and community accountable.

Our long term vision includes residential retreats. Through research, study, and creative collaboration, we are designing a system of healing justice, and an accompanying cultural framework, to be shared with people of African descent across the diaspora. 

But we can’t do it alone. We need support to make this happen.


$50, $500, even $5: whatever you contribute to Chocolate Soul Revival will support our work of moving through pain and trauma, and reclaiming clarity, power, and self determination.


Tending to the souls of Black folks is a matter of justice.Mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, informed by the cultural practices of our Ancestors, is a human right. Healing centered organizing, which increases our capacity to strategize and organize from a place of wholeness and clarity, is a matter of justice. Culturally specific, trauma informed, politicized healing work led by those from the very communities it's designed for, is a matter of healing justice. Healing justice requires and is interwined with economic justice.

History
For years we’ve been doing this work in various forms, for next to nothing—because it just has to happen. Our entire hearts and souls are committed to this work. It is the work that is simply ours to do.


In a healthier society, the work of healers, artists, and cultural workers would be highly valued. In a balanced society, we would already have all the restorative mental health care, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and monetary support we need to move through oppression into liberation. 


But you know our society isn’t there yet. That’s why we're asking you to contribute whatever you can.


Everything you give will make a difference to us and those we serve. Funds raised will help cover the cost of space rental, technology, transportation, study materials, workshop materials, as well as time and labor.

In Truth, Love & Justice,

Ratasha Elise
Healing Justice Facilitator
Visionary & Convener
Chocolate Soul Revival

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 12, 2018

Posted on June 12, 2018

Thank you to the recent round of supporters! Though we've sent individual thank you notes, some folks have donated anonymously, in which case the system doesn't allow us to send a thank you note. So ... here is a huge collective thank you to everyone who has donated and/or shared our campaign so far.

Thanks to the support of the Third Wave Fund, Chocolate Soul Revival conducted a week long healing justice retreat during the week of the Spring Equinox. During the week of the upcoming Summer Solstice, we will be setting up a home base on communal land that will allow us to host ongoing community healing circles, workshops, and intensives.

All of this has been made more possible by this grassroots crowdfunder which has been trudging along since Fall 2017. It has helped us fill in the gaps. The larger funding world is still learning about this kind of work and still figuring out how to fund it. In the meantime, finding support for healing justice work led by women of color continues to be an uphill climb. During this current time of transition we are revving up this campaign once again, and asking every soul to donate as much as you are able, and share this campaign with others in your circle who may also contribute. 

If you're interested in making a larger tax-deductible donation through our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, email us at [email protected]

If you'd like to become one of our monthly sustainers you can set up recurring donations at www.donorbox.org/chocolatesoul.


Thank you for all you've done and continue to do on our behalf,

The Leadership Team
Chocolate Soul Revival
"Building power from the inside out"

Posted on March 6, 2018

Posted on March 6, 2018

Hey Community,

As Healing Justice is an area that many are still learning of, those of us who do this work are constantly developing clearer ways to describe what we do and why. I found this wonderful description recently and wish to share it with you. It describes Healing Justice work as healing centered organizing, which is very much on point.

"Healing-centered organizing is a process to increase collective power, blending a health and wellness approach with a traditional organizing approach. The principles of healing centered organizing are:
Healing is in response to the needs of the
community
Healing is political
Healing and organizing intersect
Healing is found in culture and spirituality"

Source: https://akonadi.org/blog/building-a-case-for-healing-justice/

In Truth & Justice,

Ratasha Elise

Posted on February 27, 2018

Posted on February 27, 2018

Hey Community,

I want to share a question that comes up a lot about Healing Justice work. It is a question that is often apparent, but unspoken, especially when engaging white anti-racist orgs that sprung up in response to today's Movement for Black Lives.

What does Healing Justice work have to do with the work of political organizing and direct actions?

First of all, it feels important to highlight the fact that this is a women of color led initiative that combines healing justice, with political education, leadership development, community building and strategizing.

Second, here is something that I wrote recently to help folks connect the dots:

Chronically overwhelmed communities have been struggling against terror and inequality since the first enslaved Africans were kidnapped and forced into hard labor on Native American soil. Lynching, segregation, mass disenfranchisement, police brutality, intentionally racist housing, education, and economic policies, and the prison industrial complex, among other systems, have deeply impacted generations of Black people in this country.

When the trauma of oppression is not healed, it replicates itself. It becomes internalized and passes from generation to generation. It impacts our ability to value, love ourselves, and live inside of the joy that is our birthright. It adds layers of difficulty to loving each other fully, and having healthy interpersonal and family relationships. It affects the ability to stand collectively in our power as a community with massive capacity to demand and create systemic transformation. It impacts the capacity to creatively imagine and articulate a vision of a society where all are treated with human dignity, value, and respect. Unaddressed and re-occurring trauma muddies the capacity to define clear processes and pathways to liberation.

We do all of these things anyway. We always have. Our capacity to bear abuse and remain "productive" is legendary, and was literally carved out on plantations and in cotton fields. But how long will Black resilience be used as an excuse to ignore and prolong Black suffering? How long will we be expected to fly beyond our own needs. Why are some aspects acknowledged, while others are minimized? Oftentimes by people who don't have the lived experience of any of it. This is an active way that white supremacy continues to dehumanize, devalue, and dominate.

The historical lack of funded healing justice work has had a direct and concrete impact on our efforts toward liberation from the days of Garvey, Dubois, and Booker T., to those of the Black Panthers, Malcolm, and Martin, until now. Furthermore, government surveillance and infiltration from COINTELPRO to today's assault on those labeled “Black Identity Extremists" have always exploited the cracks in our community fabric. The withholding of time, space, and material resources needed for healing justice has contributed to the undermining of community and political organizing efforts from the beginning.

We cannot skip past Healing Justice in the process of liberating our communities. It is not a side note. It must become the foundation upon which we build our lives and all of our work.


In Truth and Justice,

Ratasha

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