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ARTWORK: ANTONE OLIVIER

ABOUT

Reclaiming Our Own Transcendence (RooT) is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) queer, grassroots-led initiative in response to sexual and interpersonal violence.  In 2017, RooT began exploring new responses to violence that aligned with transformative justice and abolitionist practices. We didn't get it right at first. We fumbled. We replicated the systems we were trying to undermine. 

 

Our current understanding of and practice in community accountability and healing began when Amy Elizabeth Paulson, Antone Olivier, and Rosa Giselle Cabrera developed a container for collective trauma healing in 2018 called Healing Cycles of Harm.

 

Initially, Healing Cycles of Harm was to be a healing space for people who cause harm. Through our shared expertise, grieving, ancestral guidance, and heart-rooted dedication, over the course of three months, many meals, and tears, we realized we were creating a space for all who have been impacted by violence, disrupting the perpetrator-victim binary. We also explored the ways that the three of us have caused, enabled, and been impacted by harm.

Our current offerings; collective repair support, People's Healing Conference and Clinic, and tailored collective healing workshops; are rooted in the ways Healing Cycles of Harm have taught us to imagine sustained healing work. 

 

Reimagining Healing

 

When harm is enacted, survivors aren’t the only ones in need of healing. Those who have caused and enabled harm also deserve healing.

 

More often than not those who have caused harm are also survivors of harm, themselves. Healing means reevaluating an awareness of self, emotional scars, past triggers, and a realignment of moral inventory in order to release attachments to abusive behaviors, patterns, and thoughts.

 

While sexual and interpersonal violence is a culturally embedded problem, enabled by institutions and structures of power, healing work creates capacity and uncovers the courage necessary to address sexual violence and rape culture within our places of work, study, worship, households, interpersonal relationships, political landscapes, social justice movements and organizations.

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ARTWORK: ANTONE OLIVIER

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Transformative Justice

 

RooT uses a transformative justice model to address violence. This is counter to the injustice system that disproportionately imprisons people of color and often falls short when protecting survivors.

Violence is not going to stop if we rely on institutions that use violence, to end violence in our communities.

Our work is transformative when we make healing democratic, relevant, and accessible. Our initiatives center the experiences of participants, generates new facilitators of healing work, and is part of a ground up movement to build a culture of compassion, accountability, and consent.

ARTWORK: ANTONE OLIVIER