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Faith, Identity & Well-Being: Exploring the Psychology of Black Muslims

In light of the Baltimore Uprising, continued BlackLivesMatter protests and rising anti-Muslim bigotry in this country and abroad, our aim is to highlight the importance of understanding how racism, Islamophobia, oppression and daily micro-aggressions impact the emotional well-being of the largest racial group within the American Muslim community – African Americans. This conference is dedicated to expanding the conversation on healing, self-love, self-acceptance and a celebration of resilience. Yusuf Abdul-Jami, a mental health advocate and proud Board Member of Muslim Wellness Foundation eloquently summarizes the spirit of this conference: "History and healing in the making, join us and be a part of the redemptive story of our culture, our deen, our strength and our future. It's been a long journey but we haven't been brought this far to lose ourselves in this ever growing wilderness. Our stories are our strength and our legacy remains to be fulfilled. Now more than ever, the last vestiges of our spiritual and mental enslavement must fall from our minds and our hearts. They cannot put out a light that has burned in us since the primordial flame of Mercy descended to dwell in the hearts of our believing ancestors". We will also discuss the cultural and spiritual resilience which have strengthened this community through the centuries and the strategies/coping mechanisms which be useful as the community faces new threats to its collective well-being. This day long discussion will include experts in the field of race, religion, anthropology, psychology and social work who will focus on individual (men, women, youth/children), family and community level strengths, challenges and recommendations. 



        In Sisters of the Yam: Black Women & Self-Recovery, bell hooks, noted Black feminist scholar and activist, puts forth a compelling assertion: "Within white supremacist capitalist culture, black people are not supposed to be “well”.  This culture makes wellness a white luxury. To choose against that culture, to choose wellness, we must be dedicated to truth...If it remains a mark of our oppression that as black people we cannot be dedicated to truth in our lives, without putting ourselves at risk, then it is a mark of our resistance, our commitment to liberation, when we claim the right to speak the right to speak the truth of our reality anyway".

         White supremacy and privilege requires that Black people and others remain consciously and subconsciously convinced that Black people are sub-human, other, pathological, deviant. This lie is maintained through a complex web of overt and subtle propaganda designed to erode our sense of pride, dignity and humanity. Black Muslims in the United States, are also faced with the unique challenge of speaking the truth of their spiritual lives and consciousness while also confronting anti-Black racism from co-religionists and general society. In a recent essay entitled "Towards a Black Muslim Ontology of Resistance", Muna Mire writes "The reality for today’s Black Muslims is bifurcated into a war fought on two fronts: a battle with one’s own community to be seen and respected as well as a battle to resist targeted state and vigilante will always be too Black to be a true Muslim, but you must live with all of the pain that America inflicts on both Black people and Muslims". Ms. Mire goes on to pose a thought-provoking question: "How are we to understand ourselves and our social locations, if being Muslim precludes being Black, which cannot be reconciled with being an American subject? The historical and contemporary erasure of Black Muslims can only be situated in the context of a violent anti-Black solidarity; the Black Muslim in America must then contend with an economy of unresolved strivings—towards faith, visibility, resistance, and self determination.”


2015 Conference Agenda

Our speakers represent the brightest, most dynamic experts in the fields of anthropology, education, psychology, law, public health, religion and community activism. We are so pleased to have them join us for this interdisciplinary discussion on the Psychology of Black Muslims.

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