Healing Work Is Political Work


Public Allies + Center for Neighborhood Leadership

Organizing Apprenticeship

"Presentation of Learning"



  • Healing work is political work.

  • Taking care of myself is an act of resistance. In fact, Audre Lorde said it’s an act of political warfare. Against ignorance. Against oppression. Against violence.

  • I refuse to apologize for prioritizing my own wellness.

  • How you gon win when you ain’t right within??? Lauryn Hill.

  • I deserve access to survival b/c no one is disposable.

  • I deserve to be loved and respected and seen on MY TERMS.

  • My liberation is bound up w/ yours - none of us are free until all of us are. Audre Lorde.

  • It’s about time we understand these things and genuinely introduce these values not only into our public politic, but also into our personal intentions and actions.

    • There should as little space as possible b/w our politics and our practices.

    • The wider that gap, the easier it is for some of us to fall through.

    • The wider that gap, the more lies we end up telling ourselves about making progress and making change.

    • But if our politics about freedom and liberation and identity and power and oppression… if all of our beliefs about these things are aligned with how we intend to interact with and show up for each other… The closer we become to getting free together on OUR TERMS, in OUR TIME, with OUR POWER.

  • About time we think about our mental, physical, emotional and psychological well-being in the same context we think about this justice work.

    • Self-care and community-care and healing work IS justice work.

  • I know that, as a Black, gender non-conforming, fat disabled femme boi - there aren’t many people on my side.

    • And sometimes, even the people I think are rooting for me are fair-weather friends - those who claim to be interested in my wellness, but skip town the minute things become anything less than superficially pleasant.

    • It is so selfish and honestly counter-productive to all of our movements any time we decide that going to a rally is more important than calling and checking-in w/ a comrade you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.

    • It’s really messed up every time we decide that a press conference is more important than checking in w/ yourself or helping a friend move out of an abusive home.

    • Doing these things is not supplementary to justice work, it is vital to justice work.

    • I hope this makes sense… Let me be more specific.

  • My time with Public Allies, with CNL, with BMC has ultimately taught me that my struggles w/ anxiety and depression are not and will never be an experience I’m willing to erase, ignore, modify or sanitize for the comfort of an institution or of people in power.

    • If you can’t handle me at my sadness, you don’t deserve me as a radical, Unapologetically Black queer community organizer invested in the liberation of oppressed peoples.

    • If you can’t handle me at my anxiety, you don’t deserve me as an experienced and practiced facilitator and skilled curriculum- and workshop designer.

    • It’s all one in the same.

    • I signed up to do work in a movement that doesn’t ask or require that I pull myself apart and offer only the most palatable pieces.

    • I’m here as the sum and multiplication of my pieces, not the division or subtraction → I’m moving towards Dimension and Growth and Progress.

  • So this is the part where I encourage anyone who’s watching to do the same.

    • I want to say → Remember that you are the expert of your own experiences.

    • And I urge y’all to think more dimensionally about what it means to take care of yourself and your communities.

    • The work we do, as educators, activists, organizers, leaders, lovers and fighters… it’s all immensely important and without a doubt we can’t do it without this type of work.

    • But we also can’t do it without ourselves.

    • We can’t keep running full force at oppression and violence and expect that our minds, bodies and spirits will just absorb the impact and withstand trauma or even just everyday wear and tear.

    • The time we take to understand and grow our relationships w. ourselves…

    • The energy we invest into maintaining the health and function of our thoughts, our feelings and our being… All of this is political. All of this is justice. Without self-care, community care and radical wellness work, we can not effectively move our movements towards liberation.


  • Healing work is political work.

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© 2018 by D. Inez "Z" Bell