Diasporic Soul healing-centered leadership development experiences allow 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.
I wish I had this leadership development experience before I became BSA president because I would have done some things differently.
The trip opened my mind up to how many different ways I can lead. That as students we have so much power in our voice and I think that students need to keep on fighting and showing up for things that we say we believe in.
This leadership experience was way more effective than doing team building stuff. I have seen kids go abroad but it doesn’t change the way that they lead back in the states, which contrasts with what we are doing – – stressing the importance of personal development, the betterment of others and community.
[The Diasporic Soul] experience changes lives; it changed the lives of everyone here; everyone of us has grown and grown beyond measure. We have confidence in who we are, in our ability to excel in no matter what space we are in. We are also impacting others, so the University’s investment in the Diasporic Soul experience is also an investment in everlasting growth.
Our healing-centered approach integrates culture and contemplative practices, including stillness-based yoga, healing rituals and reflective journaling.
Our healing-centered leadership development approach integrates culture with contemplative practices.
Our approach reflects our lived experiences as Diasporic Souls who fell madly in love and who have been committed to challenging systemic white supremacy in our professional lives in the United States. More so, our approach reflects the Senegalese wisdom traditions that Eddy imbues and my long-standing affinity for healing and restorative counter narratives to white supremacy in literary works by Black writers and in hip hop. Our approach also reflects the wisdom and insights of healers, yoga practitioners, youth workers and activists who create inclusive healing spaces and healing justice for Black people. In particular, in the realm of healing arts, this includes Stacy Sims’ True Body Project somatics training and Dr. Gail Parker’s work on race-based stress injury, self-care and restorative yoga. As well as Shaun Ginwright’s thought piece on healing-centered youth engagement (2018) and the Black Lives Matter Movement’s ongoing calls for healing justice. We use the healing-centered because it reflects our commitment to the healing and restoration of Black people. We do so with the belief that we can remain resilient and engage in resistance acutely aware that collective struggle requires healing and restoration as well as an ongoing self-care practice and cultural restoration.
Our students’ experiences take place in spaces that are culturally restorative. Spaces filled with love and SOUL., which, reflecting the insights and wisdom of Alice Walker and Dr. Sharon Harrell, is a transformative healing resource that reflects our long standing cultural sensibilities as members of the African Diaspora.
This includes our transformative Senegal Experience that offers students a pilgrimage “home” to Senegal, West Africa. The collective and communal nature of SOUL includes having our students recognize that they are part of an extended beloved community that includes their family members who are deceased, their ancestors, and vibrant, thriving and dynamic Black cultural space like Senegal — a community that can support their healing and ongoing well-being. In that vein, we strive to foster our students’ deeply felt sense of belonging through the intimate and familial relationship they establish with one another and that we establish with them as their hosts and facilitators. In this way, we are Ton Ton Eddy and Ta Ta Phyllis, serving as accessible elder-mentors in a community they belong to during their time in Senegal with us and after.
Additionally, we offer learners the opportunity to earn Sentio’s Global Competency Certification as a part of their Diasporic Soul Healing-Centered Leadership Development Experience so that they can communicate the inter-cultural competency they develop with us.