Another unarmed black person ― this time a 15-year-old in Texas ― was killed this weekend by a police officer. When incidents like this occur, they can lead black Americans to feel a frustrating mix of despair, anger and hopelessness.
Dr. Candice Crowell, a professor at the University of Kentucky, was intent on creating a way for black Americans to cope with these devastating news stories. She created the “Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma” to help them attend to their spiritual health.
The 17-minute guided meditation was released in August 2016, less than a month after the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, which Crowell said increased her interest in creating the audio. The meditation contains positive affirmations that were inspired by feelings of unworthiness Crowell picked up on from those around her.
“I based [the affirmations] on messages I had heard directly or indirectly from clients, students, friends, colleagues and personal [feelings] that try to undercut black humanity,” she told HuffPost via email Monday. “The meditation provides the counter message to those.”
She said the audio has been used at colleges like UCLA, Emory University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University of Iowa, as well as in several private practices.
Crowell said meditation has been an integral component of her well-being: “Meditation has helped me sleep well, express more gratitude, practice patience and concentrate.”
Where her work in the field of psychology is concerned, BLM’s teachings have played a critical role, and she made sure to credit the movement’s three co-founders.
“The BLM movement has been a healing, affirming balm and a catalyst for me, as a researcher, professor and healer,” she said. “I incorporate activism into all of these roles because I remain inspired by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi’s work, as well as the many leaders in this movement. Their courage is empowering and world-changing.”
Crowell’s next meditation audio will be dedicated to helping white allies practice greater sensitivity toward black Americans.
“Often, white people do not create the space to center non-white experiences as worthy of love, life, health and happiness,” she said. “This would inform their continued growth as allies, while also offering a psychological and physiological benefit to them.”
You can listen to Crowell’s “Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma” here.