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Author Bio

Dr. Aaminah Norris is Founder and CEO of UnHidden Voices LLC, a Black woman-owned educational consultancy with a mission of building empathy and disrupting the invisibility of Black children, students, and families. Norris has more than 25 years of experience supporting schools and not for profit organizations in addressing issues of educational equity for low-income students from historically marginalized communities. Her background in education includes teaching, administration, and culturally responsive curriculum-development for thousands of students in grades K-16. She researches, teaches, and advocates the digital literacies of Black girls and women, with a particular interest in their STEM practices, culturally responsive pedagogies particularly as they connect to maker education, and the pedagogies of Black women teachers. Dr. Norris authored curricula for the films "Miss Representation" and "The Mask You Live In." Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Teaching Credentials Branch of the College of Education at Sacramento State University. anorris3@usfca.edu

Babalwa Kwanele is a licensed mental health therapist (LMFT), with over 20 years of professional experience working with culturally diverse youth, children, and families in community mental health and school-based settings. Her work and research have a special focus on prevention and intervention, with the goal of improving academic outcomes and the social determinants of health. Ms. Kwanele holds a Master’s of Science degree in counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and education. She has extensively studied the neurobiology of trauma and the effects of racism and poverty on communities, families, individuals, and complex systems since 1990. She is a well-seasoned professional trainer and consultant. babalwakwanele@gmail.com

Abstract

We are Black women and lifelong friends committed to the movement for Black lives because it impacts us, our families, and our communities. After the death of George Floyd, we began a purposeful and concerted effort to address the trauma of state-sanctioned murders, the Covid-19 pandemics, and the California wildfires on us and our community in our work. Our effort, grounded in sisterhood, is a quest for collective healing. During our search, we uncovered the complexity of grief over systemic racism and anti-Black hate. This essay is our effort to acknowledge, name, and frame complex grief and its impact on Black people, including ourselves. We detail an intertwined web of grief that has 11 components. We also share the initial upstream solutions we have uncovered in our efforts to collectively heal.

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