Reclaiming Our Own Transcendence (RooT) exists to build capacity for those with the least economic, legal, and socio-cultural access to address sexual and interpersonal violence in our communities. Over and over, survivors are told that those within our communities don’t have the resources to confront the violence that has been done to us. As a survivor of both sexual assault and interpersonal violence who has repeatedly heard the same response, I grew frustrated and took it upon myself to pull resources within community together to serve the needs of survivors. My experience as a working class, single mom, queer, Afro-Latina survivor who intermittently qualifies for public assistance is very horizontal to the communities RooT supports.
In the summer of 2017, after being asked by a friend to address a case where another friend of mine with social and cultural influence had harmed her and others within our community, I could not respond in the same way that others had responded to me. It became clear, that in order for us to stop a culture of rape, we needed to engage people within community to understand what harm really is and where it is rooted, develop a model to effectively address it, and access the tools among us to enable us to heal from violence.
The premise of this work is that we have the resources within our local communities to respond to and heal from harm. RooT seeks to develop, research, and share structures where:
Survivors can address those who have harmed them with the support of community, using a transparent and culturally relevant structure,
We don’t need to depend on other violent systems, such as the system of mass incarceration, for help,
Those who cause harm have the opportunity to heal from the patterns and toxic perspectives that enable and encourage people to cause harm,
Survivors are able to shape their own healing journeys in ways that feel safe, supported, accessible, and culturally relevant,
Whole communities and institutions can reflect on the ways they can stop harm from happening.