On the new episode of NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast (audio), Dr. J. Goosby Smith joins the podcast to discuss her work pursuing racial healing at Citadel University and in her new position as the inaugural vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer at Pepperdine University.
Host Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director at National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE), talked with Dr. Goosby Smith about the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation™ (TRHT™) movements she spurred at Citadel and Pepperdine. Dr. Christopher was the chief architect of TRHT as a vice president and senior advisor at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“Some of the things that we were able to accomplish at the Citadel while we were there…was to start the conversation about racial healing because of the history of slavery in Charleston and the historic role that the Citadel played in that,” Dr. Goosby Smith said, adding, “Just starting the conversation was a great thing.”
Further, Dr. Goosby Smith built a relationship with the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative at Sophia Institute, a center for learning offering innovative programs focused on personal and societal transformation. With the institute, they worked with the City of Charleston on racial healing and other TRHT pillars critical to building trust and racial progress, such as narrative change, separation, the law, and the economy.
“And so (when the pillars) are done well, they will create a stronger community,” she said. “The goal for me at Pepperdine is to work with our community to break down silos and barriers so that people can see each other, hear each other, and realize that they all have equal value. As we look at our TRHT work here, we seek the truth together. We’re trying to engage in racial healing, and we’re trying to change those narratives that we have about ourselves and the work.”
Dr. Christopher exclaimed, “That is so powerful… You’re doing such wonderful work, and you continue to do that work.”
Dr. Goosby Smith responded, “You gave us a methodology, you gave us a framework, but you left us free to imagine what could be and imagine what the vision can be and how to implement it.” She said both institutions also engaged in healing circles, a foundational component of Dr. Christopher’s racial healing approach. Dr. Goosby Smith noted that in February, she facilitated a virtual coast-to-coast healing circle on the National Day of Racial Healing, which the Kellogg Foundation launched in 2017.
“What we’re doing is trying to connect people,” Dr. Goosby Smith said, adding that in our cities, “we’ve divided ourselves into so many different pockets, different parts of town, different professions, different socioeconomic areas, different educational levels. And I think we’re at a time right now in a society where there’s maximum division and maximum fear among people, but there’s also an opportunity because there’s a maximum need for authentic connection.”
Dr. Christopher agreed, saying, “We’re all on this journey together. This is our collective journey and this experiment that we’re in, this thing called self-governance in America, it’s learning, it’s evolving… (there are possibilities) for the realization, the actualization of our potential as human beings and as a nation, but more importantly as a society and as a world.”
Enjoy their complete enlightening conversation HERE.
NEW EPISODE OF NCHE PRESENTS: LEADERS PURSUING HEALTH EQUITY IN AMERICA: LEARN HOW AINKA JACKSON HELPS BRING RACIAL HEALING TO SELMA
On the new NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast (audio), Ainka Jackson, founding Executive Director of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation, is committed to eliminating “the cancer that is racism” and facilitating economic justice, she tells host Dr. Gail C. Christopher on the new episode of the NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast.
The center was founded in 2014, Jackson says, “to address different forms of violence, whether that be economic violence, whether that be racial violence or whether that be physical violence.” She adds, “It’s insane that this place where nonviolence overcame violence was the eighth most dangerous place in the country in 2016. And we believe that broken relationships led to broken economies, leading to broken communities, all in need of healing.”
But the center’s work has made a difference. “We work with communities to heal relationships, to heal the economy and heal communities, not to fix, but to heal,” she says, noting that their formula includes addressing the root causes of issues. Fueled by their community work and efforts of their partners, murders in Selma declined by nearly 40% in 2022 after an increase of 56% from 2016 to 2021.
“The work is so impressive,” responds Dr. Christopher, the Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE). “When we think of Selma, we imagine the (1965 Selma to Montgomery March), we imagine that original work back there in the Civil Rights era. And for you to give us this data today, it’s just heart-wrenching. I’m excited to hear about some of the success that you had and some of the ways that you know you’re succeeding.”
The center implemented a violence intervention program in communities, which is bolstered by the HOPE data collection initiative run by NCHE. Jackson describes their comprehensive program, which addresses both victims and perpetrators, while targeting the inequities endured by everyone in the community.
“It’s rooted in nonviolence, which is unique for violence intervention programs,” Jackson says. “A lot of them aren’t, but given our history of nonviolence in this city, we thought that was important to help produce a cultural shift. Our street outreach workers come from the communities in which they serve, which is essential. They are trusted leaders, trusted community members, trusted vessels to intervene, to actually go to the scenes when there is violence, but also to be in the communities day-to-day, connecting people with employment and educational opportunities, ensuring that people have what they need; but getting to the root causes of why there is violence and building the Beloved Community. The last component is victim services. We are one of few models that actually serve potential perpetrators and victims. When getting to the root causes, we understand that all of these people are impacted by the root causes. Our victim services – our survivor services programs: whether it’s helping to plan a funeral of a loved one, helping to find resources, doing victim compensation, or doing restorative justice, are making sure that healing (is taking place). Making sure that those families have what they need is an essential part of this work. It’s the hard part of this work, particularly when there are so few mental health resources in a rural area. But our team is making it happen.”
Further, Jackson cites the racial healing that is drawing people together. “We had a White evangelical Trump supporter that recruited more people to our racial equity training locally than anybody else,” she says. “We are very intentional about rooting our work in love. And let me be clear, love is action… love is justice.”
Dr. Christopher applauds her work, saying, “That is so powerful. So many things you said just landed…in terms of the realities of your community. At the same time resilience and your capacity to do the hard work of connecting people at a heart level – so few people are willing to to be patient and to extend that grace. I’m just so happy to lift your story and to have people hear it. This matters, it makes a difference.”
To hear more of their enlightening conversation, tune in HERE
NEW EPISODE OF NCHE PRESENTS: LEADERS PURSUING HEALTH EQUITY IN AMERICA: LEARN HOW AUTHENTIC ENGAGEMENTS IMPACT RACIST BELIEFS & BEHAVIOR
On the new NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast (audio), Angela Waters Austin, executive director of One Love Global Inc., demonstrates the power of authentic engagements to address racism, telling host Dr. Gail Christopher about healing circles and discussions that generated positive results and changed beliefs. She also says the COVID-19 pandemic forced community organizations to adopt creative approaches.
Throughout a reflective conversation, Dr. Christopher and Austin discuss the challenges and successes of their work that aims to heal racial wounds of the past and create paths forward that can transform American society. A chief objective is eliminating racism and uprooting the false belief in a hierarchy of human value, an antiquated notion that the human family can be divided and ranked based on skin color, physical characteristics, and ascribed traits.
In their talk, Austin recites authentic stories from her work at One Love Global, a non-profit working to transform communities so Black children experience justice, peace, healing, opportunity, and abundance.
Our communities are creating new narratives about the present and the past that raise expectations for equity, fairness and justice. This approach is building trust, relationships and healing across the divides, across racial and class lines. And in so doing, we are expanding the circle of engagement. We are building a critical mass and ultimately a majority, and super majority, of people who will unite behind the TRHT movement and transform our country.
In the NCHE podcasts, we will lift up leaders, who are finding innovative ways to generate healing and build the bridge to tomorrow. We will talk to leaders addressing the entrenched legacy of separation and segregation. We will strategize with those tackling the racist policies and legal structures that continue to impede progress. And we will hear from leaders working to create economic opportunities that can stabilize families Join our host, NCHE Executive Director Dr. Gail Christopher, on this journey. Tune in to NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America.
On the premier episode of our podcast, NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America, host Dr. Gail C. Christopher talks with guest Dr. Kaiwipuni Punihei Lipe about the culture of native Hawaiians and their connectiveness with their homeland.
Tune in to learn more about the incredible spirit of native Hawaiians, the challenges they face to stay connected to their homelands and the connectiveness they believe links all things on earth.
“In all places in the world, I believe that at one time or another there were principles that connected us to each other and a place for us in our stories,” says Dr. Lipe. “We know that we are born from this land, that the land, the sky, the sea, the birds, the plants, the animals they’re all part of our family. It’s a lens or a framework that invites us always to be thinking of the ways we are connected, even when we’re not biologically related. And so that is a core principle that we are trying to teach anyone who is in our presence.”
Citing spiritual strength and resiliency of their culture, Dr. Lipe notes that many Hawaiians struggle “in so many ways, all very connected to the loss of our lands.” She adds that “more than half of native Hawaiians live outside of Hawaii. We cannot afford to live on our own homelands.”
Find out more about Dr. Lipe’s thoughts on Hawaiian culture and “connectiveness” on Earth on the premier episode of the NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast. https://youtu.be/E-N-hcyW4Mw
America Dissected released a new podcast “Racism is a Public Health Issue with Dr. Matías Valenzuela”
Dr. Matas Valenzuela was a member of the King County Collaboratives for Health Equity (CHE) team at NCHE.
The American Constitution Society, in its support for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission (TRHT), recently spoke with Dr. Gail Christopher from the National Collaborative for Health Equity to learn why TRHT is necessary in the United States.