AntiRacism Task Force: Study & Practice of “Somatic Abolitionism”

Racism produces trauma in human bodies.

Join with other Riverside members and friends beginning January 17 in a four-session study and practice of “somatic abolitionism” – recognizing and eradicating racialized trauma held in our bodies. 

Registration open now through November 29. 

We’ll be using Resmaa Menakem’s book My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies and accompanying practice book, which include readings and exercises that support our understanding of sometimes challenging concepts.

Participants meet monthly in Black Bodies, White Bodies and Bodies of Culture “community groups” for work specific to their different historical and current life experiences, and are expected to complete individual exercises from the practice book in between group meetings.

The practice of somatic abolitionism is relevant for ALL bodies, whether White Bodies, Black Bodies or Bodies of Culture. It helps users to dig deeper and explore ways of addressing individual and community racialized trauma that exist in our environments.

Healing our own trauma undergirds our work to end racism and build a new culture not based on white-body supremacy. It is a way of being in the world that builds resilience and discernment, based on the age-old wisdom of human bodies respecting, honoring and resonating with other human bodies.

The first session will be via Zoom on January 17, starting at 6:30 PM with a BRIEF orientation in plenary. Then community groups will go into breakout rooms, with as much time to work as each group wants.

Officially, the second through fourth sessions will be February 21, March 20 and April 17. While we strongly encourage groups to meet on the designated days, it’s more important for each community group to decide for itself to meet when all its members can make it.

Participants will be expected to commit to all four monthly sessions and to complete assigned reading and individual activities before each session, including in preparation for the first session January 17. Community group members’ work together will be rooted in the My Grandmother’s Hands book and related practice books (currently on order).

The “deeper dive” will cover four months of a 12-month curriculum. We plan to offer the opportunity to sign up for a second and third round. While we haven’t even held the first session yet, we want you to know up front of the option to continue.