Charis welcomes Breeshia Wade in conversation with Vanessa Jackson for a celebration of Grieving While Black: an Antiracist Take on Oppression and Sorrow. Grieving While Black is an exploration of grief from the perspective of a Buddhist Chaplain, end-of-life caregiver, grief coach, and doula who has worked with populations ranging from new parents to people who are incarcerated. It’s a beautiful, timely meditation and guide to reckoning with and healing our grief and trauma so we can interact responsibly with those around us. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.
Most of us understand grief as sorrow experienced after a loss—the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a change in life circumstance. Breeshia Wade approaches grief as something that is bigger than what's already happened to us—as something that is connected to what we fear, what we love, and what we aspire toward. Drawing on stories from her own life as a Black woman and from the people she has midwifed through the end of life, she connects sorrow not only to specific incidents but also to the ongoing trauma that is part and parcel of systemic oppression.
Wade reimagines our relationship to power, accountability, and boundaries and points to the long-term work we must all do in order to address systemic trauma perpetuated within our interpersonal relationships. Each of us has a moral obligation to attend to our own grief so that we can responsibly engage with others. Wade elucidates grief in every aspect of our lives, providing a map back to ourselves and allowing the reader to heal their innate wholeness.
Breeshia Wade holds an undergraduate degree in Comparative Studies from Stanford University, a graduate degree in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, and has completed a two-year Buddhist Chaplaincy program. In the course of her career, Wade has supported people during transitions both at the beginning and end of life as a birth doula and Buddhist chaplain. She has worked with incarcerated populations, on the MotherBaby Units of hospitals, and in people’s homes.
Additionally, she has led grief workshops in conferences along the West Coast, including those at UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and Stanford University.
Vanessa Jackson is a Soul Doula, psychotherapist and owner of Healing Circles, Inc. In Atlanta Georgia. She is also Chief Mixologist at Dudley's Apothecary where she conjures aromatherapy sprays to support mind/body/spirit healing.
Vanessa co-edited Understanding Power: An Imperative for Human Services. Ms. Jackson’s passion is supporting activists in creating healthy and balanced lives. She offers an Activists Assistance Program to provide politically conscious and clinically sound counseling and healing workshops to Atlanta-area feminist/queer/social justice non-profit organizations. She is a member of the Radical Optimist Collective and a former board member of the Charis Circle.
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Typically, when we reference grief work in relation to anti-Blackness, people think about the grief experienced by those oppressed by white supremacy. But Breeshia Wade encourages those who are not Black to consider how their own unexplored grief amplifies the suffering of Black people.