Black creative, wellness and activist communities come together in Long Beach to offer healing and inspiration for the movement
images by Crystal Niebla for Long Beach Post
September 28, 2020
Poet, artist and activist Shelley Bruce had a vision: a gathering where creatives, healers, activists, allies and supporters could come together in wellness and joy to propel the movement forward. That is how Healing: A Sit-In for Justice, Peace & Unity was born. First taking place in Venice for Juneteenth weekend 2020, the second day of healing took place in Long Beach, CA on bluffs overlooking the Los Angeles harbor.
SameSide provided Shelley with an easy way to incorporate action into the event. All guests received an action toolkit with ways to register to vote, access a progressive voter guide for California to help make well-informed decisions on their ballot and cut through the misinformation.
Long Beach Post reported the event encouraged participants to wear white and bring flowers, contrasted greatly to other social justice protests in Long Beach following the killing of George Floyd this late spring, which often carried anger, loudness and disruption.
“A lot of us found that it was exhausting,” said 28-year-old Derek Garlington, a videographer helping to film the event. “We needed an alternative way to be in solidarity.”
He wanted to participate in “taking that anguish, instead of charging it” and turning it into healing for Black and Brown people who have experienced generations of trauma, giving thanks to the protesting work done before them.
“Most of the time, you gotta keep your blinkers on just to stay sane,” Garlington said.
Organizers, taking a healing approach, wanted the audience to honor their lives and those lost to police brutality.
“I am love. I am worthy,” an emcee said to the sitting crowd, asking them to recite it back before a breathing exercise.
“I think it’s a needed way of protesting,” said 24-year-old Cerritos resident Jasmine Li.