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Author Bio

Jean Pierre Ndagijimana is a Rwandan Visiting Research Scholar and Global Fellow at the University of San Francisco. He holds a BS in Clinical Psychology, a Master’s degree in International and Multicultural Education, graduate studies in Public Health, and currently, he is a doctoral student in International and Multicultural Education. Ndagijimana is a co-founding member of the Rwanda Psychological Society (RPS) and his practice and research interests are around community-driven culturally and contextually relevant educational and psychosocial strategies to heal/ reduce impacts of individual and societal toxic stress both in post-genocide Rwanda and in the African immigrant communities in California.

Kissanet Taffere is a social worker with ten years of domestic and international experience in the non-profit and humanitarian sectors, where her work has focused primarily on refugees and asylum-seekers, sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, and issues of racial and economic justice. She holds a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in History and French from the University of Houston. She is a native Tigrinya speaker, and also speaks conversational French and basic Amharic. She is currently a therapist working with refugees and asylumseekers in California.

Abstract

This paper critiques the influence of neoliberalism on mental health and the ways in which it denies the knowledge and capacities of Black African immigrants in the United States. It promotes and proposes community-driven approaches to supporting survivors of human rights abuses. The commentary is divided in two major parts: The first section discusses the impacts of monetization of Black grief, psychologization of poverty, and predatory inclusion on survivors of human rights abuses and staff within the humanitarian sector. The last section proposes more culturally relevant and humanizing healing pathways and frameworks for African immigrants in the United States. We advocate for mental health support that centers and promotes decolonial approaches and that prioritizes and values honoring communities’ wisdom, experiential knowledge, and capacities.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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