We are the WHEELS: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
By James Encinas
WHO WE ARE:
As sowers of positive change in service to the dignity of all people, we are united in the belief that fear must not prevent the speaking of truth.
On April 12, 2014 I got on a bicycle and hit the pavement for my second cross-country ride. It was a leap of faith grounded in the belief that humans now have tools and knowledge to engage healing after adversities experienced in childhood that affect adult life. Since that bicycle trip, I have been graced to come into relationship with many like-minded souls who lead with their hearts and are committed to being of service to others.
You’re reading this because you too are a like-minded soul.
We’ve entered into community, and we are calling ourselves Social Justice Global Healer Warriors because we’re committed to healing self and others. We work and volunteer in the fields of domestic violence, foster care, parenting, victims’ services, sexual abuse, restorative justice, healthy relationship, healthy masculinity, faith, body/mind, and resilience.
Seeking greater freedom and justice for those who are poor, vulnerable, oppressed, voiceless, or marginalized we created a forum and now engage in a public conversation that changes the current dominant narrative, which diminishes rather than uplifts people.
We embrace a narrative that enhances people’s power to create better ways of living, allows spoken truth to be heard, acknowledges the life-altering impacts of trauma, and protects those deemed as “other” from being labelled, punished, degraded, ostracized and removed from society.
WHAT WE BELIEVE:
Every human is able to articulate pain and suffering. Every human has the right to ask for and find relief. Every human has the power to create profound and positive change to prevent or minimize future hurts. The right combination of self-exploration, reason, emotion, and experience is what leads to valuable and life-altering transformations. Providing individuals with tools for self-reflection, emotional self-regulation, the ability to regain balance, and nurture personal growth through the “witness of others” who care enables them to understand how past experiences influenced their development and shapes their present personal interactions with others.
When it comes to the topic of healing the wounds of emotional trauma, what we propose is a radical transformation. Old ways of thought now give way to a new philosophy and new language for communications that enable healing.
We believe that labelling people with singular negative identities dehumanize, objectify, and justify harsh responses. Being void of empathy, labels negate care and compassion. At various points in the history of the U.S., labels were used to rationalize inhumane treatment toward those seen as having identities different from our own including race, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, class and political views. And then they were, and in some cases continue to be, exterminated either by slow, insidious methods, or by random perpetrators of violence.
It is a truth that “Hurt people hurt people.”
It is also a truth that “Healing people are healing other people.”
We believe that the time has come to embrace the lens of, “What happened to you?” rather than, “What’s wrong with you?” Families and communities that are impacted by violence and trauma now have opportunities to move beyond the narrow institutional focus of correcting behavior through harsh discipline and restraint of unpleasant emotions.
The science behind the Adverse Childhood Experiences study revealed how traumatic experiences create unseen roadblocks to healthy growth for people, organizations, systems and communities in our world. We now know that what were regard as true adverse experiences (sexual, physical and emotional abuses) also include the ‘normal’ adverse experiences of divorce, living with an alcoholic, drug addict, or a depressed parent. Those ‘normal’ adverse experiences during childhood are what cause chronic diseases, mental illness, and violence. The ACE Study’s researchers—medical doctors Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda—found that most people experience ACEs, and that these experiences are lost in time and protected by shame, by secrecy, and by social taboos.
As Social Justice Global Healer Warriors, we share stories and offer a new narrative so that readers will engage in this critical conversation by sharing their stories, insights, voice, and their truth.
Rev. James Encinas - Child Abuse/Domestic Violence Service Provider, Parent educator, Florida
Audrey D. Jordan, Ph.D., CPC - Founder, ADJ Consulting & Coaching, California
Clay Robinson - Facilitator R&R Domestic Services, Inc. Tamarac, Florida
Rev. Keisha Kogan - Coordinator of CONNECT Faith, New York City
Eve Scalon - Parent Educator, Domestic Violence Facilitator and Advocate, California
Rev. Garrett A. Foster - Founder of Community In Spirit, Delray Beach, Florida
ShaRon Rea - Family Relationships Specialist, Scottsdale, Arizona
Rev. Juan Carlos Arena - Program Director, Children & Youth Program Futures Without Violence, New York
Linda Chamberlain, Ph.D. - Scientist, author, professor, and founder of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, Alaska
Rita S. Fierro, Ph.D. - Fierro Consulting, LLC, Philadelphia
Mary L. Holden – Founder of new72media, freelance writer/editor, Phoenix, Arizona
Rev. Thaeda Franz, Ph.D. - Psychotherapist, Alternative Consulting Enterprises, Inc. Reading, Pennsylvania
Peter Pollard, MPA - Violence Prevention and Intervention Specialist, Washington, DC
Dana Brown - Organizational Liaison for ACEs Connection and ACEs Science Statewide Facilitator with Learn4Life, California
Forrest Moore, Ph.D. - Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall, Chicago
Christine "Cissy" White - Writer, Parenting with ACEs Community Manager & Northeast Region Community Facilitator, MA, Blog at Heal Write Now
Rev. Diane Rooney, M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. OM - Licensed Acupuncturist, Teacher, Healer, First Year Dean at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, New York