Resources for Antiracism & Black Lives Matter Advocates
Anti-Racism Work Requires Rest—Here’s How 4 Social Justice Activists Practice Self Care, Kayla Hui, Well and Good (March 2021)
This article explores how 4 different activists practice self care to inspire readers to practice self care as they see fit.
Identifying Your Role and Practicing Self-Care as a Young Black Activist, Genisha Metcalf, DoSomething.org (October 2020)
This article highlights how to start your activism work, but more importantly, how to sustain your work through self-care.
Black Activist Burnout: 'You Can't Do This Work If You're Running On Empty', Christianna Silva, NPR (August 2020)
This article specifically addresses activism burnout among Black racial justice activists.
Fighting racism, battling burnout: causes of activist burnout in US racial justice activists, Paul C. Gorski, Ethnic and Racial Studies (2019)
“Social movement scholars have identified activist burnout – when the accumulation of stressors associated with activism become so overwhelming they compromise activists’ persistence in their activism – as a threat to movement viability. This phenomenological study on the causes of burnout among racial justice activists in the United States was designed to bolster understandings of burnout and inform strategies for sustaining racial justice movements. Thirty racial justice activists who had experienced burnout were interviewed. They described four primary burnout causes: emotional- dispositional causes, structural causes, backlash causes, and in-movement causes. Implications for activist and movement sustainability are discussed.”
“Racism, Whiteness, and Burnout in Antiracism Movements: How White Racial Justice Activists Elevate Burnout in Racial Justice Activists of Color in the United States”, Paul C Gorski and Noura Erakat, Ethnicities (March 2019)
“Social movement scholars have described activist burnout—when the stressors of activism become so overwhelming they debilitate activists’ abilities to remain engaged—as a formidable threat to the sustainability of social movements. However, studies designed to map the causes of burnout have failed to account for ways burnout might operate differently for privileged-identity activists such as white antiracism activists and marginalized-identity activists such as antiracism activists of color."
Racial battle fatigue and activist burnout in racial justice activists of color at predominantly White colleges and universities, Paul C. Gorski, Race Ethnicity and Education (2018)
“Activist burnout scholarship has inadequately considered challenges marginalized-identity activists, such as racial justice activists of color, experience in the course of their activism – challenges from which privileged identity activists, such as white racial justice activists, are protected. This article attempts to address this gap through a phenomenological study examining activist burnout in racial justice activists of color whose primary sites of activism are predominantly white colleges and universities in the United States at which they work."
This deep and incisive article by a folk healer discusses the need for black communities to focus on healing, rather than self-care, as way of restoring (rather than maintaining) their well-being, after having experienced generations of trauma. The intentional healing requires a process of consciously adopting practices, naming harms to uncover harmful coping mechanisms, working on creating supportive interpersonal relationships, and focusing on public spaces have to be changed to foster healing.
This article by the Director of Healing Justice at Black Lives Matter discusses the importance adopting a healing justice framework which can heal both the personal and the collective trauma faced by people (in the present, and historically), to ensure the resilience of the movement for Black lives - “we heal so we can act and organise”. It also unpacks the concept of healing justice.
Drawing on the "healing justice" framework developed by radical queer feminist Cara Page and the Kindred Southern Healing Collective, this toolkit, created by the Black Lives Matter Healing Justice Working Group, is a resource for those engaged in direct action to center healing justice practices.
Self Care in the Multiracial Movement for Black Lives, Jennifer L. Pozner, ColorLines (Sept. 21, 2016)
In this article, Pozner discusses the importance of self-care in making resistance work sustainable. The article identifies a number of ways in which leaders of Multiracial Movements for Black Lives engage in self-care. Pozner takes care to reinforce that self-care looks different for every person; it can be something as simple as spending time alone, or something more formal such as seeking counseling.
This blogpost by Cara Page, a black queer healer who has previously worked on documenting southern healers from the U.S., discusses the work done around healing justice at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in 2010. Through the creation of two spaces: the US Social Forum Healing Justice Practice Space, and the People’s Movement Assembly, she discuss how people of color can reclaim notions of wellness, and the role of healing justice as a political tool.