From March 18-21, 2019, Tewa Women United hosted a retreat for aligned community organizations active nationwide. Ten representatives of five organizations gathered at La Mesita Ranch Estate to share stories, eat together, practice T’ai Ji, and collectively explore the opportunities for social transformation afforded by Healing Justice and Radical Self-Care.
This event was just the start of a three-year process that will include annual Circles and smaller conversations throughout each year.
Participants included Ahmee Vang, Aljosie Aldrich Harding, Chasity Salvador, Corrine Sanchez, Dayanara Marte, Frank Joyce, Jessica Williams, Monica Raye Simpson, Tammie Xiong, and Zon Moua. National Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez and Elder Rachele Agoya led or participated in some of the sessions as representatives of Tewa Women United and NCOE. Also contributing to the retreat were Christopher Ramirez, Xavier Barraza and Beckie Masaki (Facilitation & Movement), Taslim Van Hattum (Graphic Documentation), Mikki Anaya (Logistics), Summer Wood (i2i Institute, Evaluative Documentation), Norma and Hutch Naranjo (The Feasting Place, Traditional Pueblo Food), and Concha Allen and Veronica Iglesias (Healing Practitioners).
Xavier led the group in an exploration of three expansive questions: How did our ancestors heal? What is healing justice? What did our ancestors do for their radical self- care?, sparking stories and reflection.
Transformative Tools for Healing Justice
Working collaboratively, facilitators Beckie Masaki, Xavier Barraza, and Christopher Ramirez led the group through a scaffolded journey from the individual (story of self) to the community (story of us) to the potential for action (story of now). They offered tools to bring back for use within organizations and communities to inspire the next steps in healing justice and radical self-care.
Collective stories of resistance.
Using materials from the Center for Third World Organizing, participants gathered in small groups and developed skits enacting powerful stories from the history of social justice movements in this country. Questions arose: “What are the “collective stories of resistance” of your communities? How might we honor and preserve them? How to bring them to the world?
Beckie led the group in this practice using hand-drawn artwork to represent states-of-mind/being derived from the ancient Taoist tradition. “Walk around to the various circles,” Beckie advised, “Ask yourself, ‘why am I resonating here?'”.
“What is Healing Justice? What is Radical Self-Care?” Xavier asked, and suggested that participants journal first, and then capture an image using the camera on their phone to illustrate that understanding for the group.