Healing Faith: From Lamentation to Transformation
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Many people are experiencing trauma, grief, and anxiety in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued violence against marginalized groups. After symptoms have been diagnosed, a serious question remains: how do we heal after experiencing significant harm?
Diverse religious traditions have developed deep reservoirs of “healing faith”—cultural wisdom and spiritual practices to lament brokenness, promote healing, and transform painful circumstances. In this courageous conversation, Joanne Braxton and Angela Oh, two respected scholars, religious practitioners, and social activists, explore how religion and spirituality can be medicine for the spirit, the body, and the body politic.
This program is a prelude to Creative Encounters: Living Religions in the United States at the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
This event is made possible with support from Lilly Endowment.
About the Participants
Joanne Braxton is the CEO and president of the board of the Braxton Institute, a nonprofit organization that heals cycles of violence through research, education, and community-based public health interventions. She is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor Emeritus at William & Mary, and adjunct professor of family and community medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She has a PhD in American studies from Yale University and a master of divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Additionally, she is a poet and author whose books include Black Female Sexualities (2015) and Monuments of the Black Atlantic: Slavery and Memory (2003).
Angela Oh is an attorney-mediator, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, writer, and nationally recognized voice on race relations and conflict resolution. She has a master of public health degree from the UCLA and a juris doctor degree from King Hall at the UC Davis School of Law. Oh was named in 1997 to the advisory board of President Clinton’s One America Initiative. In that capacity, she engaged in the first national conversation on race led by the White House. As part of that dialogue, she helped to document best practices for racial reconciliation. She co-created with artist Tu-2 in 2014 the Gift of Compassion, a program that combines art and contemplative practice for healing. The program has brought access to healing practices to formerly incarcerated persons, young adults transitioning from the foster care system, and social justice activists.