Boys and Men of Color: Healing from Systemic and Interpersonal Trauma
This virtual roundtable to engage in an intergenerational conversation about the hurt, pain, and rage experienced by boys and men of color. Panelists will contextualize the role of racial and historical trauma within the experience of interpersonal violence and trauma. Insight on how trauma symptomatology for men of color has often been criminalized and a hypersensitivity of Black and Brown male masculinity can contribute to over-policing Black and Brown communities, police brutality and murder, dehumanization, and mass incarceration will be explored. Panelists will share the ways in which boys and men of color have been harmed, both interpersonally and systemically, and the different ways we have healed and can heal moving forward. Participants will hear from panelists the holistic ways their work has supported the healing process of male survivors of color. Moderated by Richard Smith, featuring panelists Lisa Good, Bruce Purnell, Bella BAHHS and Alexander Davis.
Lisa Good, MSW, is a recognized authority in grief and trauma recovery. She is founding director of Urban Grief, a trauma-informed community-based organization that educates on the effects of violence and supports those affected through outreach and victim advocacy. She is the former director of SNUG (formerly known as Cure Violence) and has over 25 years of human service experience. She is an experienced speaker and trainer, facilitating trauma-informed workshops such as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and community events, and faith-based workshops aimed at creating healing spaces and empowering community members through information about trauma, grief, and resilience.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and was recently honored for her leadership on trauma and community violence during Women’s History Month by the City of Albany. Other recognitions include Capital District Women’s Resource Center; Working Woman of Achievement Award, Working Families Party Progressive Woman Champion Community Leader Award for Leadership in Trauma and Violence Reduction, Capital District Labor-Religion Coalition: On the Frontlines Award and the NAACP Community Service Award. She currently serves as an expert on the Department of Justice’s National Resource Center for Reaching Underserved Victims of Violence (NRC) and leads a grassroots initiative; training/coaching indigenous community leaders on trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and resilience.
She is not only an advocate, but also trauma survivor and in 2017, was selected to become an Everytown Survivor Fellow. As a Survivor Fellow, she uses her personal experiences with gun violence to raise awareness at local, state and national levels about the cost of gun violence and need for sensible gun legislation reform. Her survivor story has been featured in Vogue.com, on Medium Daily Digest and the national social media campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She remains active in the fight to eradicate violence, increase awareness about the traumatic impact of exposure to violence and break down the walls of isolation and fear by connecting community members with each other as resources and mutual support.
Dr. Bruce Purnell is the founder and executive director of a community based non-profit organization called The Love More Movement. He is a psychologist, author, artist, speaker and community activist. Dr. Purnell is a direct descendent of Underground Railroad conductors, Station Masters, Freedom Fighters and Educators. Like his ancestors, he has dedicated his life to creating a world where Love, Joy, Peace, Hope, Purpose, Equity, Transformation and Liberation are lifestyles.
Through Dr. Purnell’s journey he has instructed at The University of Cincinnati and The University of Lagos, Created a Legacy Foundation at Howard University and Conducted Academic and leadership Boot-Camps at Bowie State University. His latest initiatives involve building Community, Mobile and Virtual Safe and Brave spaces called Healing Stations and a methodology to train Transformative Life Coaches & Healing Leaders (TLCHL). His legacies include founding Seniors Offering Unconditional Love (S.O.U.L.) and an international, grass roots Mental Liberation movement called “The OverGround Free-Way”.
Dr. Purnell currently serves as a subject matter expert for The Black Mental Health Alliance, SAMHSA, The American Psychological Association, The Vera Institute of Justice and The Department of Justice for topics involving Trauma Informed Practices, The mental health of Boys and Men of Color, Suicide Prevention, Substance Use, Abuse & Addiction, Victims of Violent Crimes and many aspects of violence, mediation and models for restorative justice.
Bella BAHHS (Black Ancestors Here Healing Society) is a revolutionary millennial artist and visionary, nationally known for making sedition irresistible. Through her art, activism and advocacy, she incites civic engagement and influences participation in the fight for social justice and prison abolition. Born and raised on Chicago’s West Side, BAHHS is a raptivist, spoken word artist, songwriter, storyteller, movement strategist and consultant, community architect and champion for survivors of systemic violence.
BAHHS was thrust into the national spotlight in 2015 when a video of her heartfelt performance at a local march for justice for Laquan McDonald went viral. The following year, she co-organized the #LetUsBreathe Collective’s Freedom Square Occupation – a 45-day occupation of a Chicago “secret” police precinct, Homan Square, notorious for kidnapping, torturing and forcing confessions from Black men. Freedom Square became a defacto civic leadership art camp for the North Lawndale community, where BAHHS co-directed daily programming for youth. The summertime occupation was covered by national media outlets, urging the country to critically examine the world we exist in and to radically re/imagine the world we want to create.
Acknowledged for the visionary leadership and energy she brings to the fight for a more just and humane country, BAHHS joined the Open Society Foundation as a 2017 Soros Justice Fellow. She organized a cohort of arts-activists, the Sister Survivor Network (SSN), to curate accessible cultural events and opportunities to uplift marginalized survivors of carceral trauma, while mobilizing support to drastically reduce America’s prison population.
BAHHS is a founding member of The Decarceration Collective’s (TDC) and has worked closely with Lead Criminal Defense Attorney MiAngel Cody since 2016 to develop successful anti-carceral advocacy campaigns for federal prisoners sentenced to die behind bars for drug offenses. In 2019, TDC garnered national attention when Kim Kardashian donated to support the nonprofit’s efforts to disrupt injustice through litigation.
BAHHS is also a founding member and co-chair of the statewide Women’s Justice “Redefining the Narrative” Task Force, a historic convening of more than 250 women leaders from across Illinois united to strategically reduce harm to women and their children before, during and after incarceration while working to drastically cut the women’s prison population by 50% or more over the next seven years.
Alexander Davis CGP; they, them, alex and Love is a 90’s baby born in Brooklyn, New York. Alex’s family is from Honduras and the South Mississippi. The Legacy Alex stand on comes from ancestral wisdom, the people movements that come before them, the Women who has unconditionally cared for them, and the Struggle. Alex is a Healing Justice Organizer with H.O.L.L.A! (How Our Lives Link Altogether), which is a grassroots organization that stands on the Legacy of other grassroots movements such as The Green haven Think Tank. H.O.L.L.A! focuses on using Human and Healing Justice practices and Community organizing as a portal for youth who have been impacted my structural violence, can become leaders of their communities.
Richard Smith leads the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims work around boys and men of color. In this role, he is responsible for facilitating an expert working group of 13 individuals and delivering technical assistance and training nationally aimed at helping mainstream and community-based organizations better identify, reach, and serve boys men of color who have survived violence.
As the National Director of United for Healing Equity, Richard oversees Common Justice’s effort to build a movement that ensures that people of color who experience violence identify and act on their legitimate authority as survivors; that people of color are positioned and equipped to leverage collective power for healing equity; that system actors establish an explicit commitment to healing equity in their institutions and are held accountable; and, in partnership with the leaders on the ground, that policy solutions are identified and secured.
With over two decades of experience in leading and developing community-based programs, Richard’s work has supported the healing process of historically oppressed groups, specifically currently and formerly incarcerated youth and adults and youth of color. He also provides training and technical assistance to agencies across the country, using an approach grounded in empowerment theory and critical race theory.
Currently an assistant professor at LIU Brooklyn’s Social Work Department, Richard has guest lectured at numerous colleges and universities on issues such as systemic racism, mass incarceration, and trauma and healing.
Richard has received numerous awards and fellowships: Citizens Against Recidivism Award, New Leaders Council Fellowship, and Just Leadership USA Leading With Conviction Fellowship. He was recently awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Forward Promise Fellowship for Leadership.
Richard holds an M.A. from the University at Albany in Africana Studies and is a doctoral candidate at SUNY Albany’s School of Social Welfare where his research focus is male survivors of child sexual abuse. Richard lives in New Jersey and is the proud father of two sons, Kaden (5) and Kaleb (7).