2nd ANNUAL BLACK MUSLIM PSYCHOLOGY CONFERENCE
Deeply Rooted: Reflections on Black Muslim Activism, Resilience & Healing
In the face of anti-Black racism and Anti-Muslim bigotry, Black Muslims often draw upon faith and ‘deeply rooted’ spirituality, ancestral knowledge and cultural identities to strive towards restoring meaning, health and balance in their lives. In the words of noted Black feminist scholar and activist bell hooks: "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".
The focus of this year’s conference is to explore the relationship between wellness and the pursuit of individual and collective liberation and justice. We will examine the following themes:
Impact of historical and intergenerational trauma on self-esteem, relationships and family systems
Effect of continued systemic racism on the psychological well-being of community members
Self-care as a form of resistance
Black Muslim activism as an expression of spiritual and cultural resilience
innovative ways of addressing emotional pain and traumatic stress to improve communal action and institution building
The aim of this conference is to highlight the unique concerns and challenges Black Muslims face by bringing together 100 emerging and prominent Black scholars, leaders, mental health professionals and activists from across the country, as well as allies and supporters from other communities. This two day conference is open to all. People of all faiths (or none) and backgrounds are encouraged to attend and participate. Workshop materials as well as breakfast and lunch will be provided. Our co-sponsors currently include Chestnut Hill College- Department of Professional Psychology, Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), Institute for Muslim Mental Health, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), and Muslims Make It Plain.
WHY BLACK MUSLIM PSYCHOLOGY?
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 violence...you 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.”
We are so incredibly thankful to all those who attended this year's conference. So many beautiful people gathered from as far away as California, Nevada, Mississippi and even Toronto Canda! It was an amazing experience that we will not soon forget. While we all try and find ways of coping with post-conference withdrawal, we'll be uploading pictures, videos, and testimonials that will be sure to keep us all inspired. See you next year!
Click HERE to download a copy of the #BMPC2016 Program Booklet.
If you joined us this year, we would LOVE and greatly appreciate your feedback on #DeeplyRooted. Please share with us your thoughts and reflections on your entire experience (including food, venue, hospitality, content, etc). If you have photos or videos we can add to our growing album, please forward to us as well. We look forward to hearing from you!