ICYMI: What Is Healing Justice?

"In public health, we often talk about 'closing the gap in health inequities' in order to create conditions for optimal health for all. These discussions reflect a growing consensus that health is a human right, which sets the stage for a shared vision of health justice," said Nineequa Blanding for Nonprofit Quarterly. "They also mirror ongoing efforts to achieve racial equity by addressing structural racism and its attendant injustices, in the process expanding the health focus from the individual to the collective and society. These conversations and the work they inspire position the field of public health as a major actor in helping to protect, promote, and preserve our well-being."

"Health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease. It is a 'dynamic state of well-being emergent from conducive interactions between individuals’ potentials, life’s demands, and social and environmental determinants.' Although our collective health and well-being depend upon mutuality and our ability to heal, these critical concepts are often missing from public health discussions centered on addressing health inequities."

"A movement is underway to create spaces that allow for an exploration of practices to transform oppression—within our bodies, our communities, and the systems that perpetuate it. Even longtime freedom activist and scholar Angela Davis—who has more than 50 years of experience leading social justice movements—highlights such healing-based transformation in her work. Davis says, 'Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension—all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles.'"

"While significant efforts are underway in local jurisdictions to address systemic racism as a public health crisis, strategies that foster community healing to address the harms caused by structural racism are not at the forefront of these efforts’ strategic plans. This prompts the question: what if healing justice efforts served as a guidepost, as the foundation of a collective vision, for all government strategies to address structural racism?"

"What would our future look like if we all operated from a place of healing? Arguably, it would be a world where we value wellness as liberation, appreciate our interdependence, are in-tune with our inherent capacity to heal, honor the wisdom of all cultures and bodies, and are guided by a shared understanding that our collective health is inextricable from our relationship with the earth. Healing justice is critical for catalyzing the type of systems transformation that enables such as a vision to become reality."

Read the full article here.