—An adaptation, by the Central Oregon Healing Justice Collective, of the popular Buddhist Metta loving-kindness prayer
- Courtesy Jessica Amascual
- Judith Sadora and Jessica Amascual, two founding members of the Healing Justice Collective.
Aiming to close the long-fraught health and wellness gap in Central Oregon and beyond, a group of locals recently formed the Healing Justice Collective, intended to support Black, Indigenous and people of color, and those who have been historically oppressed in their healing around emotional, physical, spiritual and mental well-being.
“Healing Justice is a grassroots movement that emerged in the South in the early 2000s, led by queer Black and Brown organizers,” explains Central Oregon HJC Co-Founder and Director of Development Jessica Amascual. “The healing justice movement arose amidst folks noticing that their humanity and restorative healing in liberation work was chronically overlooked.”
As Amascual sees it, “This is the surest way to build a community where everyone can thrive—healing not only the symptoms, but more importantly, the root causes of systemic oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.”
The HJC is a nonprofit organization run by women and queer people of color who come from healing and organizing backgrounds. “The work we do is different. It’s authentic and more strategic,” notes Amascual. “Over the last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election season, and the uprisings for Black liberation, we have seen queer Black and Brown women at the forefront of the fight for liberation—shining a light on the change we want to see in the world.”
To underpin, sustain and spearhead these changes, HJC offers an array of healing services, workshops and classes to meet people where they are in their path to healing. All teachers and practitioners are themselves people of color—and that is most essential in healing the community, said Amascual. “Most offerings are meant for people of color only. Healing around race requires affinity spaces. But healing also demands community solidarity. For this reason, some of our offerings will be open to allies.”
Co-founder Fatima Castro is clear on how the healing community at large can and cannot provide for this contemporary collective. “We got a lot of feedback, we had white folks, white healers specifically, asking us how they can heal the BIPOC community—and that is really triggering in the sense that white people cannot heal BIPOC community members,” Castro said. “This really inspired the co-op piece where we gathered a list of BIPOC practitioners in town.”
Offerings are all accessibility priced and are curated from lived experiences. Offerings include Yoga for Race-Based Stress and Trauma, Meditation for Sacred Solidarity and The Power of Dreaming.
HJC also offers workshops that include Ancient Practices for Self Care (in Spanish), Parenting Your Child of Color in Central Oregon and Decolonization and Ancestral Healing. HJC also offers stipends for one-on-one healing sessions with practitioners within the Healing Justice Co-Op, including wilderness therapy, massage, reiki and energy medicine, spirit release ritual, chiropractic care, holistic nutrition and doula care.
To execute these offerings at an accessible cost, HJC has already seen crucial community support. After solidifying a $10,000 pledge from The World Muse and raising over $6,000 via GoFundMe, HJC is still looking for $14K in further support.
“We aren’t free until we all are and so we must each heed the call to action by nationwide uprisings for Black Liberation and believe in the power of grassroots collective efforts,” Amascual said. “The path to liberation for all people will be ushered in by those who bring lived experience to their work, disrupting the inequitable systems that have oppressed our communities for far too long.”
More information, along with a newsletter signup and an informational video, is available at the Healing Justice Collective’s website: healing-justice-collective.mailchimpsites.com.