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Journey to Radiance: Health and Healing Strategies

Jan 1, 2020

CBMA's Health & Healing Strategies initiative aims to improve the health outcomes of Black males by promoting self-empowerment and wellness education among leaders in Black Male Achievement. Launched in 2016, these strategies are designed to ensure that leaders in the Black Male Achievement field have the tools and resources to facilitate and sustain their health and healing, and that of the Black males and broader communities that they serve. 

With seed support from The California Endowment, BMA Health and Healing Strategies (BMA HHS) implements education and broader community-based strategies to work with school districts in providing capacity-building, strategic communications and community-building tools. 

  • Community Engagement should center: 1) Caregiver strategies that prioritize healing 2) Black Male-led mentorship 3) Culturally responsive teacher training 4) Asset-based narratives (in contrast to Deficiency-based narratives)
  • By teaching Black males the language of self-care, participants can identify personal traumas and the need to heal them. Better understanding of personal emotions improves communication with those around them and in school, and increases confidence and agency.
  • High stress and emotionally unsupportive environments hinder adults from acknowledging their need to heal. Adults must frequent cultivated safe spaces because they allow individuals to develop intimacy, strong social relationships, and high self-esteem.
  • Understanding tough, aggressive, and hypermasculine relationships as a product of fear from survival, racism, discrimination, and oppression allows parents to discipline in more meaningful and compassionate ways.
  • Healing is part of a collective effort. Making connections in the community and with older role models explicit promotes healing for young Black males.
  • Logistical Considerations for Moving Forward: 1) Facilitating navigation within school systems increases access to more participants. 2) While spaces primarily for Black participants are beneficial, White staff and educational leaders need access to the same learning opportunities in order to change the narrative around Black males. 3) Background checks serve as a barrier to inclusion of Black males because the culture of mass incarceration disproportionately impacts Black men. 4) Sub-groups of Black males and different communities within the CBMA network will need more tailored strategies for health and healing