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>  Crowd-hitch a ride to explore America's new frontiers

EmbRace Healing

Track: Advocates
Region: West

A journey, by way of transformative conversations, to raise awareness and promote racial healing and reconciliation in the U.S.

$5,130 Raised out of $5,000
106 Supporters
-251 Days Remaining

What is your project?

Our long walk to freedom

50 years after the historic March on Washington and passage of landmark Civil Rights legislation, the ‘United’ States remains racially divided. The legacy of racial discrimination (racism), cultivated by centuries of denying humanity, cultural genocide and injustice continues to plague, and dare I say erode this nation.  Publications, such as the Pew Research Center report, reveal people of color (a.k.a. racial minorities) experience disproportionate rates of poverty, poor health, premature death and incarceration than their non-Hispanic white peers. This nation may have passed Civil Rights legislation and 'enforced' integration but these laws didn't end racial injustice nor did they address the psychological, emotional and physical effects of racism on the entire nation.  As someone who has witnessed and experienced the burden of racial trauma, microaggressions and racial tension, I sense an urgent need for this nation to heal.

 

So what am I doing?

My campaign, EmbRace Healing, is an effort to encourage, promote and support the process of healing from the effects of racism while also working to encourage groups and individuals to reflect on trust building and reconciliation. At each stop (Portland, Seattle, White Fish, St. PaulMilwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, and NYC) I will organize and lead forums with individuals and groups that are engaged in or desire to do racial healing and reconciliation work within their communities.   Through transformative dialogues and cross-racial community building, this project aims to challenge the way we think about, respond to and discuss race and racism while increasing public awareness and support for racial healing and reconciliation.

 

Motivation

As a woman of color, racial healing and reconciliation is important for my personal development and journey. With each media story or account of racial injustice, I sense myself growing bitter, jaded and at times overwhelmed and I don't want that for myself or anyone else.  I didn’t grow up in the pre-Civil Rights South but I feel, see and experience the legacy of slavery, segregation and racism.  Far too many news stories, data reports, documentaries and conversations present race as a ‘risk’ factor for death and disease. Newsflash: there is a reason why more people of color experience poor quality of life and I’m here to bring attention to the elephant in the room. Racism, not race, is a risk factor and the root cause of many  disparities. I see this in the young black men in my family who can’t walk down the street or drive a car without risk of being racially profiled.  I hear this in the stories of teachers who treat black and brown students like ‘problem’ children. Or in the accounts of healthcare providers who mismanage patient care because of a patient's race or culture.

In addition to supporting my own racial healing this project will help me understand how I can better support and partner with others who do this work as well as incorporate racial healing principles into my professional activities. As a health equity and social justice advisor, I advise individuals and organizations that desire to end racial and ethnic health disparities. In this role, I also facilitate opportunities for individuals and groups to examine the definition of race/ethnicity and examine the roots and impact of interpersonal, institutional, systemic forms of racism on society.

 Finally, as a woman of faith, I would like to see less segregated communities of faith and more spiritual leaders engaged in this effort and committed to supporting racial healing and reconciliation among the members of their faith community.

 

What is your perception of the future, and how does your project respond to that perception?

In less than 10 years, the majority of children under age 18 will be from communities of color. Census projections tell us that by 2050 the term ‘majority’ will be irrelevant as various communities of color together will comprise more than 50% of the total U.S. population. The large scale increase in communities of color won’t dismiss the trauma, distrust, and misperceptions that inform and hinder our interracial interactions.  If we don’t acknowledge and work to address the pain, shame, resentment, and guilt from racial injustices, we’ll remain broken, divided and conquered. A house divided cannot stand and we must find ways to unite and heal for our own sake and for future generations.

EmbRace Healing encourages us to explore, embrace and embark upon the healing and reconciliation journey so that we can recover from the compounded trauma of racism and become a healthier and more prosperous nation.  The ongoing national dialogue on race and racism in American along with the growing investment and prioritization of racial equity work by philanthropic and educational organizations hints at the urgency of this work. 

 I would love to see a society where all children, families, and communities thrive.  I desire and hope that individuals and communities dealing with the trauma of racism are able to heal, forgive and rebuild. 

 

How will you use your time in each city to advance your project?

Prior to the trip, I will invite a variety of stakeholders (e.g. racial healing leaders and groups, students, community organizers, leaders of faith communities, scholars, etc.) to attend and participate in forums, coffee talks and round tables within each MTP city.  People who may not understand or embrace this work are also invited to attend. 


And of course you, my wonderful sponsor, have an open invitation to attend and participate in the conversation when I arrive in a city near you!  


The meetings will be similar to mini-workshops and will include guided conversations on racial healing and reconciliation, storytelling and opportunities to network and build relationships.

These meetings will also provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on how racial healing looks in their respective communities and how they can unite to build a solid network of allies, advocates and ambassadors dedicated to healing from the legacy of racial injustice that harm us all. 

 

What is your project designed to accomplish?

Goals and Desired Outcomes

Goals

-          Raise awareness and support for racial healing and reconciliation

-          Unite across color and class to heal individually and collectively and move towards reconciliation

 Immediate outcomes:

-          More people understand and are willing to talk about racial healing and reconciliation

-          More millennials, community organizers and change agents along the MTP route  support and promote racial healing and reconciliation

-          Incorporation of racial healing principles into professional projects

 Intermediate outcomes:

-        Increased capacity and support for individuals and groups invested in racial healing and reconciliation work

-        Increased desire/interest of community members, organizations and spiritual leaders to support and invest in racial healing work within their communities

-          Bridge building and collaboration among those working to promote racial healing and reconciliation

 Long term:

-           Racial healing and reconciliation is  valued and carried out as a national priority in communities, organizations and faith communities across the nation

-          Reduction in racial trauma and increase in social cohesion

-          National network of individuals, groups, communities and leaders advocate for racial healing and reconciliation

 

How do you plan to share the outcome of your project and the impact of your MTP experience with others?

Here's how I plan to share this experience:

1.    Create a blog and post articles, videos and photos as well as racial healing and reconciliation resources and links to existing organizations and efforts.

2.    Write and publish a memoir/guide book detailing my journey to racial healing and my experiences meeting with people who are invested in racial healing and reconciliation.

3.   Incorporate lessons learned into my professional health equity work

4.    Share this experience at local and national meetings and conferences

 

Acasia Olson
Advocates

About Acasia Olson

Acasia is passionate about health equity and social justice issues and the importance of racial healing and reconciliation in America. She is engaged in health equity work and is personally invested in helping communities and individuals heal from racial injustice. She enjoys learning from others, promoting public health, food for thought and eating good food. When she's not reading, writing, or talking about social progress you can find her traveling on a plane, train, automobile or commuter ferry.

August 5, 2014 - The Journey Begins


Dear EmbRace Healing Supporters, 

Thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement and support and patience over the last 5 months.  This Thursday I will embark on my cross-country tour starting in Portland, OR where I will lead a conversation on racial healing and reconciliation with a group of people invested in this conversation.  This will be one of many talking circles as I travel the country to discuss what we as individuals and as a nation can do to heal from the wounds of racism. 
I'll be in Portland, Seattle, Whitefish, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and NYC.  If you will be in those cities between August 7th and 17th or if you know if people that I should reach out to and invite to a conversation on racial healing and reconciliation, please let me know. 

I will post updates on the EmbRace Healing website (embracehealing.org) and I invite you to visit for updates on my whereabouts and revelations. If you haven't already, please send me your mailing address (use the "contact me" form on my website).  I want to send your postcard for being so awesome and contributing to the campaign. 

Yours in faith - hope - and Love!

Be well,

Acasia O.