Healing Past the Trauma
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Philadelphia Citizen
Posted: November 12th, 2023
In October of 2020 I sat in on a Zoom call with a group of formerly incarcerated men brainstorming the causes of escalating gun violence in Philadelphia. The meeting was part of an intergenerational healing circle for formerly incarcerated men from ages 17 to 50. All of the men are trying to figure out their place in the world post-incarceration. The hope was to support them in achieving their self-determined vision of wellness, through connections to community resources and opportunities. The program was created as part of a $100,000 grant that the Philadelphia Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) received from Impact100. The men talk about emotions in ways they probably can’t in other parts of their lives, but they also talk about practical things—finding work, maintaining healthy relationships, looking for a place to live. But most importantly they are able to talk to someone else who has experienced the things they experienced. The Intergenerational Healing Circle ... had four core goals: understanding and healing from trauma; creating connectedness rooted in shared experience of incarceration and reentry; developing agency and liberation-oriented leadership; and community building. “It’s this relatedness and willingness to be vulnerable in the IGHC that makes this experience rewarding and transformative,” says John Pace, [a] Reentry Coordinator at the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project. “While in prison, we often had to suppress our vulnerabilities ... so this space for us is truly healing.”
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