Healing Works hub offers culturally aware help for trauma

A 36 year old man was shot and killed in the parking lot of a restaurant on the 7400 block of Limekiln Pike. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

A 36 year old man was shot and killed in the parking lot of a restaurant on the 7400 block of Limekiln Pike. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

A new initiative is trying to combine resources for all organizations serving young men of color. One of the goals is to bring attention to the issue of trauma that affects so many of these men. 

Violence, poverty, abuse, neglect — a lot of young men of color have experienced these painful traumas. While services for these men are out there, the providers haven’t been connected under a common banner.

“Community organizations, GED Programs, churches, religious organizations do this work because it’s so necessary, right?” said Charlene Allen, the director of partnerships at Common Justice, the organization that created the Healing Works hub. “But we’re not naming it for what it is, and we’re not elevating it for what it is, and we’re not resourcing it for what it is, which is necessary healing work for this population of people who are so disproportionately victimized.”

Allen believes that this specific brand of culturally aware healing is a new and evolving field that needed a digital space to grow.

So on Healing Works, different service providers can come together and share strategies to deal with their clients’ challenges. The hope is that one day the public will be as informed about the young men of color and trauma as they are about domestic violence.

“A few years down the line, I want to see people understanding the need for healing young men of color, and more importantly that it is doable and to have a framework to do it,” said Allen.

Dorothy Johnson-Speight, from the Philadelphia group Mothers in Charge, is happy to be joining the hub. She says unhealed trauma can create problems for communities down the line.

“A lot of offenders or perpetrators, or whatever you want to call them, are victims themselves in many ways,” she said. “And we know that hurt people hurt others.”

Healing Works has also put together a framework for culturally relevant services. Key components include using spiritual traditions to promote healing and encouraging male victims to counsel their peers.

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