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Mobilizing Black Trauma

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Black trauma is trending. Due in part to the rise of Black Lives Matter, the healing justice movement, widely-publicized racial violence, and biomedical research, we are witnessing broader attention to Black historical, racial, and childhood trauma. Acknowledging the effects of racism, sexism, and other interlocking social structures on Black wellbeing is by no means new in United States context (Du Bois 1905; hooks 1994; DeGruy 2005). What concerns me here, however, is the heightened currency of Black trauma.

In this paper, I reflect on the spatial limitations and possibilities of mobilizing trauma for Black healing and solidarity. Drawing on critical trauma and surveillance studies, this is very much a reflection – a thinking and feeling through. Throughout, I lift up grassroots healing work from around the country, while drawing on autoethnography as a geographer and trauma-conscious meditation facilitator who also “holds space” with community.

Part of the Health as “Fix”: Geographies of the Biopolitical in Settler- and Post-Colonies session at the American Association of Geographers conference.