How can African Americans sustain their journey towards self and communal empowerment, recovery and care? Some creative responses to fill the void of grief support, particularly for crime survivors.
For over 400 years in the United States, traumatic and sudden death have been a continuous reality for Black lives in a nation rooted in systemic racism. COVID-19 has revealed the void of mental health services--including grief support--for African American survivors of violent crime. Rather than investing in caregiving, healing, and restorative justice, federal and state governments for the past four decades have ramped up prison expansion, incarceration and aggressive policing. How can African Americans sustain their journey towards self and communal empowerment, recovery and care? What can white folks do to support those efforts?
This event is part of TABLE TALK, a four-part series created by and for people of color and other underrepresented communities to inspire better living, ensure greater equity in end-of-life care, and celebrate our contributions to the world. We invite people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen, and learn, but ultimately, we are creating space for these communities to thrive, educate, and spread love to their peers, families, and friends.
Tinisch Hollins, Moderator | Tinisch serves as the Director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice State Director for Californians for Safety and Justice. She is a self described crime survivor and a native of San Francisco. She has been deeply engaged in the Bay Area social justice movement as the community organizer, policy advocate and systems navigator for nearly two decades. She has worked passionately to bring the voices of survivors to the center of community engagement and public policy and has advocated tirelessly for those voices to guide decisions, priorities, and resources. Tinisch will moderate a panel discussion with thought leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds and personal experiences related to the intersection of end of life, criminal justice, grief, and mental health.
Jordan Seaberry | Jordan was born and raised on the southside of Chicago, and first came to Providence to attend Rhode Island School of Design. Alongside his art, he built a career as a grassroots organizer, working as Director of Public Policy at the Nonviolence Institute and helping to pass multiple criminal justice reform milestones, including probation reform, the Unshackling Pregnant Prisoners Bill, and the statewide Community-Police Relationship Act. He now works as Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, serves on the Providence Board of Canvassers, and is a Community Leader Fellow at Roger Williams University School of Law. He has received fellowships from the Rhode Island Foundation, the Art Matters Foundation, and others.
Dionne Monsanto | Based in New York and Kenya, Dionne is a performer, life coach, yoga instructor, mental health advocate and first aid trainer. She has trained the NYPD and community organizations in her capacity as board member of the NYC Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Dionne serves as Executive Director of The Siwe Project, a global non-profit named after her late daughter dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global Black community.
Iana Sundari | At 27, and after 7 years of being her Caregiver, Iana Malcolm lost her mother to Breast Cancer. At 31 years old, she lost her father to Brain Cancer. Since then Iana has dedicated her life to the support of Caregivers and all those managing life after loss. Outside of her work as the Director of BIPOC Wellbeing for The Dinner Party, Iana is a birth and death Doula. She is a Yoga and Meditation teacher and leads Wellness retreats worldwide with her company Bliss Out Retreats. She is currently traveling around the US and Canada in a converted school bus with her husband and pitbull, writing about racial injustice on her blog NamasteUSA.blog and talking about designing your life post pandemic on her podcast, The Collective Reset. She is a native New Yorker , a foodie, dog lover and a fan of all things wine.
Monique LeSarre | Monique, known as Dr. Mo, is a San Francisco resident and prides herself on her community service. Dr. LeSarre is Executive Director of Rafiki Coalition, an agency that focuses on reducing health disparities and increasing wellness in San Francisco's Black community. She also teaches at California Institute of Integral Studies, and gives workshops, trainings, and keynotes locally and nationally. In her clinical work and teaching, she brings all of her psychology training, her work with men and trans-women incarcerated as teens with life sentences, Insight Prison Project's restorative justice projects in San Quentin and SF Probation Adult Re-entry programs, and her research and advocacy work in multiple areas.