DIASPORIC SOUL provides healing-centered leadership development experiences in Senegal, West Africa for Black students.
Diasporic Soul healing-centered leadership development experiences are designed for learners to deepen their capacity to be self-aware, loving, inter-culturally competent leaders who practice self-care and recognize their capacity for healing, restoration, resilience and resistance so that they are able to collaborate with others in order to create change and pursue healing justice. Our healing-centered approach integrates culture and contemplative practices, including yoga, healing rituals and reflective journaling.
Why Healing-Centered Leadership Development for Black Students?
“Black students continue to be subjected to the imposing and colonizing standards, traditions, and epistemologies that maintain white supremacy and perpetuate anti-blackness in the academy,” notes Dr. Kyra Shahid in Anti-Black Racism and Epistemic Violence (Sentio 2018). As Shahid and her Django Praxis student co-authors detail in the text and as Ebony O. McGee and David Stovall speak to in “Reimagining Critical Race Theory in Education: Mental Health, Healing, and the Pathway to Liberatory Praxis,” “Black students are expected to exert excessive amounts of psychological and emotional energy to manage stress in academic and social contexts, as well as systemic and everyday racism, which can be overwhelming and taxing. In fact, Stovall and McGee explain that “the significant injustice of societal racism takes a toll even on those students who appear to be the toughest and most successful. Black students face the constant threat of perceived intellectual inferiority rooted in notions of white supremacy produce anxiety, trauma, and general unpleasantness for them and their peers.”
In fact, the racial trauma and racial stress injury black students face is further exacerbated by the fact that, according to the USC Race and Equity Center‘s Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-State Report Card far too many colleges and universities are “failing black students.” Findings that Dr. Shaun Harper and his team based on three key metrics – representation or actual enrollment of Black students, success i.e. graduation rates and Black faculty:student rates.
Thus, our healing-centered approach to leadership development, which focuses on HEALING & RESTORATION. RESILIENCE. RESISTANCE.
Our approach reflects the insights and wisdom of artists, organizers, practitioners and scholars who are deeply invested in the well-being of Black people and deeply respect our longstanding wisdom traditions, including:
A healing-centered approach is holistic involving culture, spirituality, civic action and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but rather highlights the ways in which trauma and healing are experienced collectively. The term healing-centered engagement expands how we think about responses to trauma and offers more holistic approach to fostering well-being. -Shawn Ginwright
Healing means putting the heart, the courage and the energy back in our bodies with our own culture – Alice Walker
Healing comes when the individual understands his/her identity – their purpose in the world of ancestral wisdom – and reconnects with that world of spirit. -Molidoma Some
Love is the willingness to extend oneself for the well-being of one another. -bell hooks
Resistance is our heritage and resistance is our healing and through collective struggle, we alter our circumstances; contain, escape, or possibly eviscerate the source of trauma; recover our bodies; reclaim and redeem our dead; and make ourselves whole. -Robin Kelley
Soulfulness is an orientation to contemplative practice that centers a synergistic integration of the psychological, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of soul (deepness, aliveness, authenticity, and a healing/transformative resource) to inform the design and implementation of culturally-attuned methods. Soulfulness is characterized by themes emerging from Diasporic African cultural influences and inspired by an African American cultural sensibility. These themes include an ethos of inter-connectedness, a relational/communal sensibility, the centrality of spirituality, creativity and improvisation, a holistic orientation to human experience, emotional expressiveness, resilience and overcoming adversity, and struggles for liberation in the context of historical and ongoing dehumanization and oppression. — Shelly P. Harrell
Further, as we hold space for Black youth to deepen their leadership capacity and practice, we are invested in them as learners who are able to communicate what they know outside and beyond the traditional academic transcript. In other words, we are a part of a growing movement that recognizes what our youth know through their own experiences and that they learn outside the classroom. All the time. We are invested in them having the capacity to present what they know as well as their skills and character qualities to others, including educational institutions, community organizations, colleagues and employers. And, one another so that they can keep learning from and teaching one another.
Therefore, we offer learners the opportunity to earn Sentio’s Global Competency Certification as a part of their Diasporic Soul Healing-centered Leadership Development Experience.