Facilitating Transformative Social Change: A public health response to violence in communities Community Partners Meeting on Gun Violence Monday, April 30, 2018 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Humber College Lakeshore Campus, G Building (Paid parking available on Kipling and Lakeshore) Please bring own lunch
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
“The greatest security we can have is created through healthy relationships.” Arthur Lockhart
Questions: Please contact Arthur Lockhart at email@example.com
In essence, the day is dedicated to engaging in meaningful actions aimed at transforming the cycle of violence in communities- And in order to do this it can be instructive to explore violence not exclusively through the lens of criminal justice but by way of exploring violence as the manifestation of trauma. And trauma is best approached as a relational matter of public health.
1. Address poverty. Reverse the growing gap between rich and poor 2. Understand what’s happening. The mainstream narrative is about bad individuals, about guns and gangs. This feeds into a punitive police response. It does nothing to change the survival culture that feeds the cycle of violence. It doesn't give young men an alternative to picking up a gun in order to get respect. 3. Empower people in the communities. Programs should be run by people from the communities and inside the prisons. Recruit them as mentors and as peace negotiators. 4. Address the trauma. Take a public health approach – treat the anger, aggression, fear, anxiety, depression and PTSD.
A wonderful book on trauma and transformative social change can be found at: http://www.traumaandnonviolence.com/chapter1.html
According to the author Steve Wineman: Understanding trauma can help us to articulate what is deeply wrong with the current society. Personal suffering is the most basic reason for social change.
Understanding trauma can help us to mobilize rage in the service of nonviolent social change. There is much less recognition that oppression is generically traumatizing.
Racism, patriarchy, homophobia, and economic brutality all routinely violate people's integrity and repeatedly render people powerless in the face of overwhelming personal and institutional forces. The social experience of people of colour, gay people, women, workers, poor people, children, and disabled people is saturated with abuse, humiliation, violence, and negation of personal worth. As Aurora Levins Morales argues, "abuse is the local eruption of systemic oppression, and oppression the accumulation of millions of small systematic abuses."
Trauma belies myths that people are immune to destructive social environments, that anyone can emerge unscathed and through hard work succeed, and conversely that those who don't succeed are to blame for their own failures. The study of trauma can teach us that ours is a sickening society — a society in which toxic social conditions create psychological and physical illness by routinely traumatizing people. It teaches that a society organized around domination is bankrupt not only because it spawns enormous material inequality, violence, and oppressive power relations, but also because it degrades the quality of individual lives on a massive scale through the mechanism of trauma.
So the question for all of us to engage is: How to create healthy relationships as a response to manifestations of violence in our society?