Updated: Aug 9, 2019
The L1 Collective’s Insurgent Media Cypher is a gathering call for potential L1s who feel themselves responsible for the proliferation of amplified Black voices through the development of strategic and systemic Pan-African cohesion, for the utilization of culture and connection in pursuit of Black liberation, and for the harnessing of the power that collective naming yields. If what you read resonates, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to join the L1 collective.
I am obsessively exploring how sensory based experiences can improve the health of the Diasporic consciousness. This includes information about what we are naming as healing habits that result in a holistic resistance to the impacts of racialized oppression. Can elements of place be uniquely tailored to heal the ancestral trauma of Black folkx? While the results of these meditations are meant to be applied to the entire Diaspora they begin with the experiences of stolen Black American women.
My goal is to utilize elements of place (light, sound, smell, touch and spatial relationships) as healing triggers to the harmful learned adaptations of self-identified women of the African Diaspora. The existence of survival advantages and disadvantages (adaptations) of African American women is in part influenced by generational racialized trauma which means that there are environmental/spatial triggers (smell, sounds, light, etc.) that evoke both negative and positive responses.
If flickering blue lighting and porcelain floors can send a chill up your spine
then pastel colors and botanicals may relax you.
These examples imply that there can be societal and cultural components of these types of triggers. Could there be a linked ancestral//biological one?
So can place teach us? Can it create conscious and unconscious experiences where Black American women heal our warped relationship with our Black womanhood? Imagine a Black woman learning how to reinforce her womb from the toxic effect of weathering from chronic stress through guided meditation as her senses are reprogrammed with insurgent information through sight, smell, touch, sound and taste.
I believe that infrastructure/environment/spaces can be oppressive.
I believe elements of place can make you feel neglected. I see Black populated ghettos where dehumanization has taken shape. Crumbling infrastructure, asthma inducing pollution, contaminated water and violent noise of police sirens teach black bodies they don’t matter.
They are not deserving of rest. Park benches are fitted with metal spikes for those most vulnerable among us to disenfranchised to keep up.
Conversely, I believe spaces can heal.
I believe we can build space for Blackness. For Black womanhood. Spaces that manifest dignity, love, peace and joy. Spaces that feel so familiar we can discern where we first experienced them.
So how is this done? Imagine you are planning an event for self-identified Black women to learn stress management? How about a more pointed objective, you are having a community event where Black mothers discuss their birthing experiences.
You are worth your weight in grant funding so you consider the basics: childcare, location, refreshments and a culturally responsive facilitating team. You make sure the entrance is accessible for all and the room has a variety of seating options.
But have you considered how the glaring white light contains high blue content which causes pupillary constriction or disrupts sleeping (source). Or how the white walls (source) and cold temperatures (outside of the 68-74 degree range) (source) contribute to feelings of sterility, isolation, and can negatively impact the brain’s trust decisions? Or how the intimidating security guard in the lobby causes increased levels of cortisol in some of your attendees? Finally, was the driving route to your event filled with neurological preferred naturescapes or congested hush-hour traffic and loud noise pollution (source)?
Just as human health and well being outcomes as it relates to place are quickly becoming the new standard for environmental health and sustainability, spatial triggers must be considered when examining the clash between the health responses of racialized bodies and place.
I will experiment with spatial elements to develop healing habitats for Black American women and Black folx eventually. This will include intentional use of aspects of pre-colonial Africa while incorporating elements unique to the experience of Black American women a healing triggers. Responses of community, family, joy and love specific to the experience of Black womanhood.
If you are interested in this work, I would love to build community with you. If you know someone also doing this work, shout them out!