Healing & Power: Siblings in our Movements for Justice


Image courtesy of Dream Defenders

In our five-year Blueprint released in 2020, Groundswell pledged to focus more on healing justice across all our funds. Healing justice is an organizing strategy deeply rooted in Black feminist traditions, particularly in the South.

Our healing justice grantee partners are integrating mind-body and wellness practices into their day-to-day work. Wellness can look like many things, such as taking a sabbatical, developing a safety plan for undocumented activist canvassers, and crafting HR policies aligned with their reproductive justice values to address burnout in the social justice sector.

We learned how to support our grantee partners doing this work from many healing justice practitioners, including Cara Page and Shira Hassan. With their guidance and the generosity of our supporters in 2022, Groundswell deepened our commitment to healing as an integral part of building power in communities.

We provided $287,500 to 23 organizations last year! Since the beginning of our launch in 2021, we have awarded a total of $522,500 to 41 organizations.

Learn more about two of our healing justice grantee partners below.

Dream Defenders Education Fund

Building stronger, safer, healthier, more connected communities through healing and justice

A returning Healing Justice grantee from 2021, Dream Defenders Education Fund is a membership organization of Black and Brown youth fighting for a better future across Florida.

Founded after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the Dream Defenders are building community-based alternatives to addressing harm and violence. One strategy is the Healing and Justice Center, created in partnership with three other local organizations. This community-based public safety program reduces violence, improves mental health, and keeps young people out of the criminal legal system.

Some of their specific initiatives include a mental health mobile crisis unit, a peacemakers violence intervention team, a trauma recovery center, an urgent care clinic, and youth programming. This comprehensive approach is a national model for healing justice.

When we can heal ourselves, we heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, grandfathers, and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth. Rita Pitka Blumentstien
Tribal Doctor and Traditional Midwife
Source: https://www.nativebirthworkers.org/whywedowhatwedo

Alaska Native Birthworkers Community

Healing Ourselves by Reclaiming Indigenous Birth Practices

Most Alaska Native pregnant people in rural areas are required to leave their home community at or before the 36-week mark to give birth in the regional hospital. Displaced from home, they are often forced to labor alone without their support systems. That’s why the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community is building a network of Indigenous midwives and doulas to support birthing families on their ancestral lands.

Intending to create better outcomes for parents and babies, the organization offers free services to Native birthing families, provides free access to capacity building and training for Indigenous birth helpers, and advocates for systemic change to decolonize the body and the birth process.

By reclaiming traditions and increasing options for community-centered care, the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community seeks to heal their ancestors, themselves, and future generations.