Social Justice Healing Practitioners: Testimonios of Transformative Praxis and Hope
Based on the testimonios of 16 social justice healing practitioners from the greater San Francisco Bay Area, this article examines the principles and practices guiding their healing praxis when working with urban youth of color, particularly of Chican@/Latin@ background. I identify social justice healing practitioners as community educators who center healing and social justice when engaging youth in transformative social change. As a methodological tool, testimonios provide great insights into the life experiences and reflexivity of these community educators. By explicitly making a commitment to restoring and renewing young people’s social well-being, as well as their own, these practitioners promote more holistic practices that are inclusive of young people’s mind, body, and spirit. Social justice healing practitioners seek to facilitate healing spaces that provide a context for young people to reconceptualize individual challenges as a politicized collective struggle, and through this process create a platform for both youth and educators to collectively engage in healing and transformative praxis. The findings from these testimonios suggest that social justice healing practitioners strive to create community healing practices to support young people in their individual and collective processes of healing with the goal of cultivating their resilience, hope, and capacity to see themselves as agents of change.