The 2013 Black Men Healing Conference recently concluded on June 21 and 22. This was the fifth year of the annual conference. There was great significance about this year’s conference being the fifth installment.
One of the significances is the fact that a conference developed around the concept of addressing Black males’ emotional, physical and spiritual pain made it this long. This is the only conference in the world that has taken this approach to community healing.
The other significance was the theme itself: “.”
Let’s be very honest and direct for a moment. The Black community is in shambles. This is not secret. It is just hard, raw truth.
The village we once had is on fire and has been slowly burning for quite some time now. It is painful to make such statements. However, it is necessary if we want to make some changes.
Sam Simmons and the organizers of this year’s conference wanted to make sure that solutions were outlined, discussed and understood this year. Pervious years, the conferences were built on creating awareness and a language around Black male healing and trauma. After four years, this has been implemented enough to take healing to the next level.
Now it is time to put our boots, hills and Jordans to the ground and makes change happen for us. Sam Simmons made the following action points during his lecture at the 2013 conference:
‘The Foundation of Forgiveness: Building Unity’
Bonds of trust and mutual aid must be re-established within families and between community members. Many different types of processes need to be set up to allow people to tell their stories and to process feelings.
‘The Spiritual Dimension: Identifying with Life-Preserving,
The spiritual dimension of human development is an essential aspect of health. Unless people identify with constructive values such as honesty, respect, caring and sharing, they will not be able to make life choices that lead to wellness and healthy
‘Personal Growth and Healing’
In order for Black individuals to grow and for their families and communities to develop, we need opportunities to heal our pain and to begin a journey toward health and wellness.
Develop safe environments that allow the community to deal with painful issues at a pace it can handle and provide the support that is required to ensure that issues can be dealt with in a way that leads to healing rather than to further trauma.
Healing is not out of reach, but it takes courage, perseverance, and a logical approach. Stress management is key.
‘You Are Your Own Leader (United Independent Efforts)’
This leadership looks like the following: courageous, constructive role modeling from within the community from those who are willing to persevere in their own healing journey and who are willing and able to take tough stands concerning the dysfunctional relationships and behavior that is keeping the community trapped in a state of denial or in patterns of violence, apathy, abuse, confusion and disunity.
‘The Community Must
Individuals, families and communities who are traumatized often struggle to control strong feelings of confusion, anger, fear, shame and hopelessness. This often dissipates much of our energy for creativity and learning.
Also, personal and cultural identity and perceptions about self worth have become distorted. Through the healing process, these feelings are released and the individual and community are ready to adopt a new, “post-trauma” identity or constructive identity of self.
‘Making a Commitment’
Good intentions or well-thought-out plans are not enough to produce change. People also need to make the personal commitment to take the steps that will lead to constructive goals. Families and communities also need to assume responsibility for our development and to make a commitment to stick with the actions needed to make change.
The formal and informal institutions in the community need to be transformed in accordance with life-preserving, life-enhancing principles and processes. In other words, organizational healing processes will also be needed. The community must establish healthy relationships within itself before building with other communities around it on the basis of its “post-trauma” identity.
Are we ready to take healing to the next level? Are we ready to address the trauma and emotional pain that Black males experience on a daily basis? Are we ready to heal?
The males are not the only ones in pain. The women and children are suffering also. The village fires are extinguished with each individual’s efforts towards healing.
Your legacy, my legacy, and our legacy depend on this healing. Our children, their children, and their children’s children depend on us. In the words of Sam Simmons, “The village that hides the truth cannot expect to heal, but to pass on the pain.”
Let’s heal. It has been time.