Charis welcomes Michelle Cassandra Johnson in conversation with Ashanté M. Reese for a discussion of Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief. Learn how to process your own grief--as well as family, community, and global grief--with this fierce and openhearted guide to healing in an unjust world. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
In unsettling and uncertain times, the individual and collective heartbreak that lives in our bodies and communities can feel insurmountable. Many of us have been conditioned by the dominant culture to not name, focus on, or wade through the difficulties of our lives. But in order to heal, we must make space for grief and prioritize our wholeness, our humanity, and our inherent divinity.
In Finding Refuge, social justice activist, social worker, and yoga teacher Michelle Cassandra Johnson offers those who feel brokenhearted, helpless, confused, powerless, and desperate the tools they need to be present with their grief while also remaining openhearted. Through powerful personal narrative and meditation and journaling practices at the end of each chapter that explore being present with your heart, Michelle empowers us to see that each of us has a role to play in building enough momentum to take intentional action and shift what is unsettled and unjust in the world. Finding Refuge is an invitation to pick up the shattered parts of yourself and remember your strength, wholeness, and sacredness through this practice of presence and attending to your grief.
MICHELLE CASSANDRA JOHNSON is a social justice warrior, author, Dismantling Racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner, and intuitive healer. With more than twenty years of experience leading Dismantling Racism workshops and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, she has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart. Her awareness of the world through her own experience as a Black woman allows her to know, firsthand, how privilege and power operate.
She has worked with large corporations, small nonprofits, and community groups, including the ACLU-WA, Duke University, Google, This American Life, the Center for Equity and Inclusion, Eno River Unitarian Universalist Church, Lululemon, and many others. Michelle published Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World in 2017 to great acclaim, and she teaches workshops in yoga studios and community spaces nationwide. She is on the faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World. Michelle was a TEDx speaker at Wake Forest University in 2019, and she has been interviewed on several podcasts in which she explores the premise and foundation of Skill in Action, along with creating ritual in justice spaces, our divine connection with nature and Spirit, and how we as a culture can heal.
Michelle leads courageously from the heart with compassion and a commitment to address the heartbreak that dominant culture causes for many because of the harm it creates. She inspires change that allows people to stand in their humanity and wholeness in a world that fragments most of us. Whether in an anti-oppression training, a yoga space, or individual or group intuitive healing sessions, the heart, healing, and wholeness are at the center of how she approaches all her work in the world. She lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with her sweet dog, Jasper, and her bees.
Ashanté M. Reese is assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is author of Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C. and co-editor of Black Food Matters: Racial Justice in the Wake of Food Justice.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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Learn how to process your own grief--as well as family, community, and global grief--with this fierce and openhearted guide to healing in an unjust world.
Transform your yoga practice into a force for creating social change with this concise, eloquent guide to social justice tools and skills.
An in-depth look at Black food and the challenges it faces today
For Black Americans, the food system is broken. When it comes to nutrition, Black consumers experience an unjust and inequitable distribution of resources.
In this book, Ashante M. Reese makes clear the structural forces that determine food access in urban areas, highlighting Black residents' navigation of and resistance to unequal food distribution systems. Linking these local food issues to the national problem of systemic racism, Reese examines the history of the majority-Black Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C.