Anti-Racism for Wellness
"I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world."
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
Being in the wellness world, I've thought a lot recently about the term "spiritual bypassing." Spiritual bypassing is the attempt to rise above the messiness of the human experience, both internally and externally. In doing so, we equate healing and enlightenment with avoiding and turning a blind eye.
Most coaches and leaders in the wellness world are white and/or privileged in some way, myself included. It's incredibly easy for us to "spiritually bypass" the problems of the world, then. I've done it too many times. And this is an immense, tragic disservice to our world-- both to others and to ourselves-- especially when wellness services are so valuable to those who relentlessly suffer from the trauma of marginalization.
And, given that most wellness practitioners are white, what happens when we associate “wellness” only with white faces? Particularly for children, what becomes ingrained in them at an early age about for whom wellness practices, like mindfulness and heartfulness, are reserved?
Let us-- parents, educators, and wellness practitioners-- intentionally expand on this limiting archetype. Below are some resources for incorporating more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color into you and your kids'/students' wellness education. Whenever possible, please consider purchasing directly from these wellness leaders to support the BIPOC wellness community.
Two wonderful kids’ books:
Listening with My Heart: A story of kindness and self-compassion
A wellness book for adults:
Wellness, spiritual and self-care educators on instagram to support:
Non-profit education organizations dedicated to youth of color that you can donate to:
Gyrl Wonder: Founded by former BET executive Talah Lawals. Programs educate girls through four pillars: Self Care, Self Image, Empowerment and Development.
The Conscious Kid: You can donate to either the Anti-Racist Children’s Books Education Fund or the The Conscious Kid General Fund. Read more about each fund here.
Know Your Rights Camp: Advances the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.
National Black Child Development Institute: Committed to improving and advancing the quality of life for Black children and families through education and advocacy.
Black Girls Rock: Dedicated to enlightening girls through leadership, education and positive identity development.
Also, please read this infographic from @curious.parenting, and pass it along:
Three other anti-racism actions you can take today:
Donate to the NAACP, Campaign Zero, and/or Black Visions Collective
Call your city’s mayor to demand use of force reform for police. See current policy for your city and who to contact here: https://8cantwait.org/.
Donate to bail funds for protesters. You can visit the National Bail Fund Network to find out how to donate to a specific region.
While I have always cared very much about social justice in education, I acknowledge at this point in time that I can be doing much more. In addition to donating to some of the organizations listed above, I pledge to offer at least one spot out of every five in my workshops and courses free of cost to BIPOC and low-income students, and I will continue to offer my services on a sliding scale. I pledge to incorporate more BIPOC voices into my curriculum, and emphasize the intersection of wellness with social justice in the Mindful & Well Education program. I promise to really commit to this for others and for the good of our world; not for myself and not as a performative act.
Please feel free to offer my contact info to families of Black, Indigenous, or Youth of Color who might benefit from participating in the Mindful & Well program, free of cost.
And if you have other resources for amplifying BIPOC voices in wellness, please do share. Let's help each other learn and stay committed.