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Healing Justice in Chicana/x Feminist Organizing


Healing Justice in Chicana/x feminist organizing focuses on an unexplored healing justice tradition, specifically Chicana/x feminist interventions meant to engender whole and healthy communities. In this research, I bring into focus a long lineage of healing justice in Chicana/x movements that–while providing a rich foundation for the contemporary work happening in Chicana/o/x communities—have not been fully explored before now. I assert that Chicana/x healing justice, which I elaborate in this dissertation, includes intersectional wholeness, community care, and healing from historical trauma. I argue that healing justice is not a new phenomenon in Chicana/x feminist organizing. Instead, there is a wealth of examples from different Chicana/x feminist movements that show how Chicana/xs have merged community wellness, healing, and social justice in unique ways according to specific needs. Recognizing this legacy will help ensure that Chicana/o/x activism considers the needs of communities and the importance of addressing intersectional experiences going forward. This dissertation offers a glimpse of the collaborative research I participated in the last seven years with Mujeres de Ma�z and Full Moon Healing Circles, as well as intergenerational conversations with Chicana/x feminists. This research sets out to answer the following questions: What is healing justice in a Chicana/x context? What is the genealogy of healing justice in Chicana/x feminist organizing? How are contemporary Chicana/x activists and artivists practicing healing justice? I draw on ten oral histories and seven years of participant observation to better understand how Chicana/x feminist activists inform a Chicana/x healing justice framework. This dissertation is organized into three parts. The first begins by honoring the early work of Chicana feminist activists Gloria Arellanes and Celia Herrera Rodriguez. Specifically, I center the oral histories of Chicana maestras whose community activism spans about 40 years. Then, I discuss the women of color artivist collective Mujeres de Ma�z to demonstrate how organizing practices and holistic art practices can inform a Chicana/x healing justice politic. I end with a case study on full moon healing circles Omecihuatl from Orange County, CA and Coyolxauhqui Full Moon Circle from East Los Angeles, CA to highlight how self-care is a part of community care.

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