Healing & Justice: Oakland, California

A year ago, I packed up and moved to Oakland after finding my wings in St. Louis. Although excited for a new chapter, I was sad to leave this wonderful city and the work I was doing with Integrate. Little did I know, I’d be taking Integrate to Oakland after Julie offered me the role of Integrate’s co-founder. It was an honor and I absolutely loved Julie’s vision about the network expanding, and offering access to trauma-informed resources outside of the midwest. We felt that Oakland and St. Louis were similar in many ways, both doing a lot of work in the intersection of social justice and trauma-informed care. 

We decided on the topic of Justice & Healing for our first event in Oakland because you cannot have one without the other, or as Dr. Maria Paredes puts it, “Trauma-Informed Therapy is important, but Social Justice-Informed therapy is even more important. One cannot fully do trauma-informed therapy without understanding the trauma of social INjustice.” This became a theme that took precedence over the event because healing on the micro level is interdependently connected to healing on the macro level.

Our event’s panelists and presenters were an incredible collective of human beings who shared an impressive array of knowledge, perspectives and skillsets. The panelists were Briana Moore, Nicole Steward, Kellie Nadler, Annie Shiel, and Julie Johnson (scroll down to see their biographies, if you missed them!).

Here are some of the questions I asked the panelists:

  • How are you seeing people in St. Louis/Oakland work across racial lines to create trauma-informed communities? 

  • How do you accommodate students who don’t want to do yoga, but still show up to yoga anyway, or still want your services even if they care less about the yoga?

  • How are you addressing the odds children in high risk communities are up against?   

  • What can you say about the school to prison pipeline and the importance of trauma-informed systems in education within the Bay Area?

  • What are your experiences with compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, and what would you like the community to understand about human service providers / helpers? 

  • Mindfulness is a huge movement in the Bay Area, but so is spiritual bypass. What is the importance of trauma-informed mindfulness?

  • As a trauma steward, how do you spread the trauma-informed mindfulness methodology in your work in the community? 

  • What is the biggest challenge in the implementation of trauma-informed care in Bay Area communities right now? 

  • What practical advice would you give to someone who wants to start working with populations with trauma? 

  • How do you avoid burn out and keep yourself going? 

After the panel, we had two incredible presentations given by Briana Moore and Nicole Steward. In her presentation, Ms. Moore discussed trauma-informed policy and vicarious trauma. She also spoke on the intersection of generational trauma and resilience while making some profound statements, finding empowering language to put a different lens on trauma for the audience:

“Your ancestors may have had trauma, but they were also resilient. Look what they went through and survived, it’s important to understand both perspectives.”

Ms. Moore also demonstrated the 4-1-5 breath, which she highly recommended in times of activation or stress. This breathwork is practiced by inhaling through the nose for four counts, holding the breath for one count, and exhaling through the mouth for five counts. Ms. Moore also pointed out some important distinctions between a threat and a challenge, which struck a chord with the audience. For example, when you experience something as a threat, it means you don’t have enough resources. However, if you experience something as a challenge, it’s because you have the support of resources you can turn to.

During Nicole’s amazing presentation, Radical Resilience, she spoke about the root of resilience. She expanded on the differences between surviving vs. thriving, and how resilience implies self-care but without the commodification. Something Nicole said that profoundly echoed around the room and continues to do so weeks after was:

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“Resilience doesn’t mean you have to erase or relive past traumas, but you have to be honest about them, and understand how residual trauma impacts you, your perception, and how you show up in the world.”

Nicole also referenced the famous Rumi quote many times, “don't turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you.” She emphasized how often people focus on the light and leave out this aspect of the bandaged place, or tending to our wounds.

We cannot run from the bandaged place, just as much as we cannot run from the fact that integrated trauma-informed care, interlaced with social justice, is imperative to the future of our society and generations moving forward.

We were so happy with the turn out of the event and witnessing everyone connect, share diverse resources, and realize they’re not alone. It was a special day and one that reminded us why we are deeply passionate about expanding Integrate’s mission to make trauma-informed care accessible and well, integrated!

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to our lovely panelists and everyone who came to the event, as well as East Bay Community Space for hosting us! Thank you, all.

If you missed the event, here’s a list of trauma-informed resources and practitioners we highlighted in the Bay Area of California:

Trauma Transformed

True U

The Opportunity Institute

Radical Tendencies

Don’t miss out on our next event! The panel and workshop event served as a mini conference that inspired the theme for our Second Annual Integrate Conference in St. Louis, April 2019!

You can purchase early bird tickets below:

Panelist Information:

Briana Moore, ASW, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Project Director of Trauma Transformed

Briana Moore, ASW, has conducted trainings for over 30 years throughout the Bay Area, specifically in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Ms. Moore has developed and presented training focused on nurturing traumatized women with wounded spirits. The training includes: Self-Care for Caregivers, Trauma Informed Systems, Medically Fragile Children 0-5. Also as a coach and mentor for Young women, Ms. Moore provides direction and guidance to assist them with staying focused on important elements in their life. Ms. Moore is also the project director of Trauma Transformed, an organization that encourages Bay Area communities to work together and change the way we understand, respond to and heal trauma. You can find more information on traumatransformed.org.

Nicole Steward, MSW, RYT, Steward Project Podcast, Vicarious Trauma Healing Expert

Nicole Steward is a social worker (MSW) and registered yoga teacher (RYT) with a focus on community engagement, public education, foster youth advocacy, social justice, and trauma-informed yoga. With more than a decade of social work practice in non-profits and in K-12 education, Nicole has noticed the need for radical self-care to discharge toxic stress we absorb through our work. This awareness drives her to study trauma as well as the ways yoga and mindfulness affect our brains and bodies, keeping us engaged and renewed. Nicole teaches yoga, mindfulness and offers self-care workshops and retreats. Nicole believes Radical Self-Care is a way of being we must adopt if we are to sustain ourselves as service providers, educators, and human beings.

Kellie Nadler, MA, Deputy Director of Renewing Communities

Kellie Nadler, MA, is the Deputy Director of Renewing Communities, a statewide systems-change initiative aimed at increasing higher education opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Californians. In her role, she supports the project’s mission by developing resources, providing technical assistance to programs throughout the state, and managing the implementation of Corrections to College California’s projects. Kellie is a practitioner of human-centered design and was part of Stanford University’s first Designing for Social Systems cohort. In addition to her work with Renewing Communities, Kellie serves on two committees for Spark, a philanthropic network of young professionals aiming to improve the lives of women around the world. 

Annie Shiel, E-RYT, Founder of True U, Security and Human Rights Policy  at the Center for Civilians in Conflict

Annie Shiel (E-RYT) is a trauma-informed vinyasa yoga teacher who believes in the power of conscious movement for self care, healing, and empowerment. Annie believes that you are your own best teacher, and her goal is to hold space for students to explore their own wisdom in a safe, supported way. She teaches group and private classes in studios, schools, and in specialized settings with vulnerable groups, and has experience working with survivors of sexual assault, vulnerable and systems-involved youth, and those struggling with disordered eating. Annie is also the co-founder of True U, an organization that engages teens through trauma-informed movement, mindfulness, and self expression practices to promote self worth, resilience, and community leadership. Annie is a 200-hour trained vinyasa yoga teacher with additional training in trauma-informed yoga and yoga for vulnerable youth. She teaches at studios and trainings across the country and is a lead teacher at 405 YOGA's 200-hour teacher training. When she's not teaching, Annie works in security and human rights policy. 

Julie Johnson, M. Ed, Co-founder of Integrate Trauma-Informed Network, Community Educator on Trauma-Informed Systems

Julie Johnson is an artist, teacher, and community educator. Julie's been working in Ferguson for over six years as a teacher for the visually impaired. After watching how deep toxic stress was embedded into the daily lives of her students and their families, Julie created an award winning adaptive yoga program called Fit Abilities, which provides trauma-informed yoga and healing tools for students with visual impairments to cope with toxic stress. In 2015, Julie created the St. Louis Trauma Informed Network, currently known as Integrate, after realizing there was a large need for professionals serving clients and students in communities with high amounts of trauma. The network allows its members to connect and share resources across transdisciplinary lines on a grass roots level. 

Victoria EmanuelaComment