What is H.O.L.L.A!’s Healing Justice Movement?

The grassroots leadership of youth of color from poor and working class urban communities are rarely seriously engaged or included in citywide development of policy, law, and institutions that have serious consequences for our lives and communities. The leadership of youth of color must be included in these conversations! Our Healing Justice movement is committed to remedying that. We are invested in creating vulnerable spaces for youth of color to heal, providing a platform to amplify youth voice. We want our movement process to be the fuel to bridge relationships that move forward human and healing based policies and practices to help restore our communities. We envision this happening through a Four-Phase process:

1. Community Health Assessment
2. Workshops/Experiences
3. Written/Multimedia reports/experiences
4. Stakeholder briefings with formerly and currently incarcerated people, policymakers, politicians, street corners, community centers, schools, living rooms, police, and government officials to transform their policy development and practices.

1. Community Health Assessment

We created our Community Health Assessment to better understand how laws, policies, and institutions cause harm in our lives, and to better understand the healing needs, practices and desires of youth of color living through systemic oppression.

The Youth Organizing Collective (YOC) will administer our Healing Justice Youth Community Health Assessment Survey to connect with youth in Bed Stuy and throughout New York City. We will have a virtual web-based survey to distribute in mass. We will deliver paper surveys to local youth of color based organizations. We will conduct short street survey/interviews outside of public transportation, schools, local neighborhoods and community centers.

2. Workshops/Experiences and 3. Written/Multimedia reports/experiences

Concurrently, we will be convening Healing Justice workshops/experiences with twenty to thirty youth of color-based organizations across the New York Metropolitan Area City. This will be directed by our collectively generated strategic out-reach plan. These workshop experiences come in three varieties to engage with young people (ideally ranging from 5-40 participants) in the Greater New York City Metropolitan Area, and run for various time durations (one, two or three hour Healing Justice workshops and surveying throughout the city).

Over the next six months, we plan on having local and large citywide events to promote the Healing Justice Movement. We will report back our learned lessons, struggles and plans for next steps. Our workshops will not only increase our community outreach, political education and self-reflection but they will ensure that we have an accurate and comprehensive assessment of youths’ opinions. By engaging in deep Community listening, healing and documentation, we will be better informed for our citywide report backs and movement building.

Through citywide events and written/multimedia reports/experiences, and our website, we plan to share everything we learn/gathered from our Healing Justice Youth Community Health Assessment Survey, organizing, and experience.

4. Stakeholder briefings with formerly and currently incarcerated people, policymakers, politicians, street corners, community centers, schools, living rooms, police, and government officials to transform their policy development and practices

We will partner with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions to ensure our plans for Healing and Justice is communicated and expressed back to the communities and individuals most directly impacted by the laws, policies, practices and systems of oppression. The center will ensure that our report back get on healing and justice gets into the hands of policymakers, politicians, police, and government officials to inform their development of policy, law and institutions.

The Center for Nuleadership on Urban Solution is the first organization of its kind; a communiversity developed and run by formerly incarcerated leaders. The organization mission is to support the transformation, leadership and empowerment of individuals and communities impacted by the prison industrial complex through a praxis of community organizing, grassroots and sociopolitical development. The Center is based in Brooklyn, NY, and is a nationally respected as a community based public policy, Human Justice Think Tank, advocacy and research training center with over 60 years of experience working to end the prison industrial complex. The organization’s current political agenda is to shift the paradigm for safety, accountability and justice from one of criminal justice to Human Justice (CNUS, 2012). Human Justice is an updated and expanded analysis of the Green Haven Think Tank’s Non Traditional Approach to Social and Criminal Justice. The Human Justice framework informs all the organization’s policy initiatives, community organizing and programmatic efforts.

Many people are interested in changing our communities, but so few will ask young people for their perspective, experiences and suggestions. We want to facilitate this exchange and empower youth in Brooklyn and throughout New York City to organize.

We know from our own personal experiences that in order to create a lasting and sustainable movement, healing from trauma is the first necessary step. Outside of our participation in H.O.L.L.A!, we do not have an outlet to discuss our trauma and healing. Feeling safe enough to be vulnerable and share how we are processing how power and privilege affects our lives is both a critical and necessary part of our analysis for creating any meaningful interventions. This is why we are fully committed to creating opportunities for youth to be able to heal and engage in deep critical self-reflection. We know this period of transformation will guide youth to better commit to organize for liberation. We are stronger together and united we will work together to how policy makers, government officials, schools, police accountable.

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We would love for you and others to join us in developing this movement. Taking our Community Health Assessment is an easy first step. We promise that everything you share in the assessment will be confidential. We promise that everything you tell us will be honored and treated with respect, love and care. We will share back our lessons learned and the major themes we hear across this survey collection on our organizational website, through citywide events and written reports. We would like you to be a part of building this with us. If you would like to be more involved with assisting us in developing this Healing Justice Movement, please leave us your name and the best way to contact you on the last page of the survey. It will take only about 15 minutes to complete Community Health Assessment. Thanks for taking time out your day, much love and respect. Peace.

Written by The Youth Organizing Collective