In this enthralling episode, I spoke with Anita Bhardwaj and Raggi Kotak about their work and upcoming six week program, Race Resilience. I was honoured to speak with them about their decades long social justice and somatic healing expertise and the powerful work they do in the UK and beyond.
Race Resilience is a professional collaboration that combines their forty years experience of activism, exploring ground-breaking tools and resources to understand and move forward on the issue of racial justice.
For twenty years Anita has worked as a senior manager, trainer consultant and coach in organisations, with a specialism in developing services on the issues of gender violence, race and mental health. This has offered her the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the impact of issues of power and abuse, based on one’s social identity, as well as the variety of layers and aspects that are required to heal and recover from such experiences.
Her training includes Psychology, Life and executive coaching, Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki Practitioner, Chi Kung Teacher, TRE (Tension Stress and Trauma Release) Provider. Anita works in organisations (individuals/teams) and in clinical practise. She has a keen interest in working with both those that are impacted by racism and other forms of abuse; and professionals to support them to recover and expand their own resilience to the stress and vicarious trauma, they experience. Her work is embedded within a framework that acknowledges personal and social histories of trauma whilst challenging the, structural inequalities, social injustices and oppression as the root context from which stress and trauma manifest for individuals and communities.
Raggi is a south Asian queer woman living in London. She is a human rights barrister, who has worked with asylum seekers for twenty years. She has a long history of anti-oppression work and has been involved in the setup and running of numerous ground-breaking and award winning projects.
Raggi trains in Process Work - a widely respected facilitation method for conflict and change, which informs her work. She specialises in issues of power and oppression. She provides consultancy, facilitation, training, coaching and mentoring, working with individuals, groups and organisations.
Raggi is the founder and main facilitator of an active online discussion forum called Race Talk, which aims to bring different racial groups together to find ways through their racial conditioning and trauma. She is also a facilitator for the Racial Justice Collaborative, an international project challenging racism through dialogue. Raggi’s work is informed by psychology, trauma awareness and movement work, in which she has extensively trained.
Visit their website learn more about their upcoming Race Resilience course starting October 21st.
Welcome to clap with Jane, with Jane clap. I know some of the most interesting and inspiring people who are helping to keep humanity afloat in their own unique ways. I want you to meet them too. I wish to acknowledge the land on which I operate for thousands of years. It has been the traditional land of the heroine when debt, the Seneca, and most recently the Mississaugas of the credit river today. This meeting place is still home to many indigenous peoples from across turtle Island. And I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. Hi, everybody. Welcome to clap with Jane. I have two remarkable women from the UK , um , here who are doing very unique and powerful work around race resilience, and I'm really glad that you can meet them. Would you like to introduce yourselves? Thank you, Jane and I I'm a South Asian woman , um , from the UK. Hi there. My name's Reggie Kotek. I'm a queer woman. Uh, also a good South Asian origin. Uh, my origin is Indian and I'm also born in the UK. Okay . So tell , um, tell us a little bit about yourselves who wants to go first? Cause you have a background that , um, has brought you to some pretty beautiful work in the world. Um, and it would just be good to hear a little bit about your stories and how you came to the work that you're doing. Thanks, Jane. So it's , it's quite an interesting, I kind of went when we were thinking about this , um, this podcast and Iraqi and I, we had quite an interesting conversation and I, and I said to her that I find, I find my own personal , um, journey to doing this work. I often say that my, I don't always feel like I choose the work, but the work chooses me. And in the way that that work is, is actually more about a very personal journey, a very life journey as to what is coming up in my life at this moment in time. So I, I started in this work maybe 20 years ago , um , working specifically to support survivors and that was , um, survivors of gendered violence, but specifically South Asian women who had experienced violence and abuse. So we looked at it very much in terms of what they were experiencing as due to their race, as well as the agenda. So very much from an intersectional lens. So that's one aspect of the work. Um, and the other kind of other journey to this is looking at how this work has impacted on the body. Mm mm. Oh, I want, I want us to be able to talk about that more. I, we will do so, so my own , um, my own inquiry as a personalSpeaker 2:
Survivor, as well as somebody who's worked professionally in their field is understanding how we can heal from experiences of violence and abuse. And I often look at those, those experiences in a much broader lens off of save yet, be it gendered violence, be it race. And then also that how those, how those intersect and the complexities that come with it and the compounding nature of itSpeaker 1:
[inaudible] and how they've ended up impacting people's bodiesSpeaker 2:
And therefore the deeper work that we need to do to heal and recover. And we renewSpeaker 1:
Beautiful and raggy. Tell us, tell us about, I mean, you both are really interesting, like if you actually read their bios, it's like, jeez , um , for go ,Speaker 2:
Um, uh, I think probably my connection to this work is really through my personal experience of having experienced racism. Um, I grew up in an area of North London that at that time was almost exclusively white. And I also, I was born in 1968, which was the year there was a very famous speech by an MP called inop Powell called the rivers of blood speech. And that speech incited a huge amount of racial , racist violence in the UK. And I grew up at a time where that was just really, really strong. And for me, you know, I say that, you know, I feel like I couldn't get to the end of my road without somebody calling me packet or go to school without somebody trying to chase me. It was, it was really, really rough. It was really rough. It was really scary. I was quite isolated. Um, and I , I I've spent really the rest of my life trying to challenge racism and trying to heal from those experiences. I also have , um, personal experiences of childhood violence , um, uh, gender violence. So that combination together really did, you know, really mess me up for a very long time. And it's taken me a lifetime. I, I think , um, I, I , I originally , um, I started to study law in , in the sort of , um , in my sort of mid twenties. And , um, and there's a really interesting story around that, which we're going to talk about is where we met. Um, during my studies, we became involved. I became involved with a , uh, an inquiry in the UK called the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, which was one of the , um, biggest investigations into police violence and into racism , um, that we've had in the UK. What had happened is Steven was an 18 year old young man and he'd been murdered at a bus stop. He'd been stabbed by a group of young men. And the investigation was so messed up with allegations of corruption and incompetence and clear racism that, I mean, they really just left him on the ground to die and they, they fell to investigate letting the perpetrators go free for many years. So , um, I got involved in that inquiry. Um, whilst I was a student, I got very , um, we're gonna come back to that because I need to , and I met actually at that inquiry and that's where we became friends and , um, uh , but just, just to complete , um, I decided to practice in immigration law , um, as a barrister, a barrister is a lawyer basically that goes to court. You know, we, in , in the UK, we have different systems list of embarrassment and I represented asylum seekers. And, you know, part of that is because , um, I've always felt that immigration control is, is, is predicated on racism, the language around , uh, how we talk about asylum seekers, the treatment of migrant communities. Um, it , you know, it , it has racism embedded in it. And I , um , I specialized around gender violence and I , and I really did that for a very long time. And then a few years ago , um, basically what happened is Trump got voted in and I was so horrified that I thought we all have to go and study conflict. We all have to study how to part of facilitate conflict. And I started training and facilitation medical process work, which is a really fantastic method to facilitate change in conflict. And I've been trained in a few years. And then about a year ago, I started, I stepped forward to hold spaces around race. And now that is predominantly what I do. Um, I , um, I facilitate an online forum called race talk. Um, I'm part of various collaborations, facilitating conversations, I'm consulting, I'm training. And this actually let's wait, we'll talk about race resilience. What's so exciting for me about rescue salience and that story and just a one. Mm ,Speaker 1:
Thanks. Anita. I'd love to hear more about , um, your, how you came to doing this work. Yeah, so, so Jay and I , um, as I said, I started 20 years ago. Um, I've got , I've had quite an interesting history in terms of the work, because what I would say is that I, I had the opportunity of working for quite a , um, quite pioneering Asian organization, grassroots organizing activist organized organization that, you know, as is, as is the way with a lot of grassroots organizations that are service organizations, but where they come from is really around also organizing community and raising community issues. So there are a few organizations in , in the UK and I've had the privilege of working for, for , for a number of them be them. Um, you know, it was a new major women's project, which is now London, black women's organization look, black men and black women's project, and also staff or black sisters who I did some work for who, if anything, I'll probably our pioneers around raising the issues of race and gender and equality . Um , and some of it not just at a kind of community level, but actually at a, at a, at a structural policy level in terms of their organization that have actually changed the legislation in terms of looking at how , um, you know , uh , racist policies and, and, and, and , um, laws have impacted on black women particularly. So some of the work that I have done my , my background is very much as a community organizer, but as a community development worker. So what I do is look at how we can develop services to support those who are impacted by social injustices, particularly around race and gender, but also wider as well. So I , I have a background in psychology. This was my first degree. Um, and my other training has included as I've kind of moved on is as a coach and a consultant I'm bought in by organizations to look at writing projects and beds , and looking at how you develop a project , um, over the long term, as well as evaluating. So that's kind of thing that I've done for about 20 years. And as I've moved on, there was, there was definitely this inquiry, as I said, really looking at how I personally had been impacted. I had my first professional burnout back in 2002 . And what I should say to you is that I was working in a project that was really quite fascinating, cause it was one of the first projects that looked at the impact, or rather the reasons why South Asian women were three times more likely and more vulnerable to suicide and self harm than men, non Asian counterparts. That's the statistic in the UK that was back from , um , 1990s. Okay. Now what, what, what, what was, what was looked at in that research was understanding why that was, what was the experiences that South Asian women were experiencing that, that, that led to this such extreme distress. And we do know that actually the self harm rates still though they have changed, but, but, but over , um , younger age groups in terms of now, but there is still quite a big at that time that 15 to 35 was a very, very vulnerable age group . So we know that it had a lot to do with some cultural issues, but also the experiences and the compounding experiences of racism and being migrants in the UK. And what was also really highlighted was the way that, or the lack of understanding by white professionals and the, and the lack of appropriate interventions to support the distress. And particularly within the mental health system, you know , the mental health system for black women and black men, particularly, no , a lot of these institutions have been more damaging than they have been health field really important for us to understand in terms of when we look at race and when we're looking at how , um , professional support those in distress. So that's a part of what you're sharing in your race, resilience training , right? So it comes very much as somebody who has been developing services over, over that kind of, you know , longterm . So I've worked in a number of projects over a number of years, but again, coming back to my training, I shifted a bit of a focus when I started looking at the layers of healing and recovery. So I , I, after my first burnout in 2002, I went off and trained as a body worker was really interested in the body all over. So I did, I trained as the Thai yoga massage therapist. Um , and I trained as a , as a chicken teacher to really interested in, in the body, not really understanding why, but a lot of, a lot of it around my own healing and developing resources and started this professional inquiry around professional resilience. When you work in trauma as a professional face to face, we know that we are exposed to vicarious trauma and vicarious trauma, secondary trauma. So we know that people who work with trauma can be impacted in the same way as those who experienced trauma. We also know that those who that anticipate true trauma is just as impactful as trauma being experienced in the first. So what can we do to be resourcing ourselves? So that's been a bit of a long journey in the past, I'd say 10 years , um , how racial trauma is also a small somatic experience, right. Happens in the body. It happens in the spirit, but that we can't recover just talking about it. Can we , it's a trauma once you understand that, and once you understand that trauma can only be healed in the body, it's , we can't talk our way out of trauma. You know, that, you know , all the feeding of veins , the Bessel VanDerKolk's that you know, that , uh , Pat Ogden that, that Roth shall we know that that has been, that has been the primary. We can't talk our way out of trauma. Trauma happens in the body. And if you think about the work that gavel motto does, he says that, you know, trauma is not, it's not just what, what happened, but it's actually how you are changed from that experience within and what didn't happen after. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you. You both , um , bring so much life experience, lived experience and professional training , um, was a really well developed political lens to what you're offering everybody in your race resilience training. Yup . Yeah. Yeah. You felt mentioned that you're a trauma trained specialist as well. Am I completely forgot? I said, well, my husband often laughs. Cause he says, people ask me , um , what's your wife ? Does he say I can't ? I can never remember. And I felt so well , I should also say, is it actually on the train to already provide us? So I'm a mutual release exercise provider, which is, if anybody knows is a somatic , um, is a sematic practice . It's actually a, it's a, it's a practice whereby we use seven very specific exercises to , um , support the body, to , um , bring on what we call self-induced therapeutic tremors. And what is now known is that what can happen with those tremors is that they can support the central nervous system. The nervous system is where the , where trauma sits to help, to regulate and stabilize our systems. So , um , that is what I do. I'm just started mentoring for the college to do VA's , um , a training mentor to supervise other , other trainees as well. Amazing. Amazing. If you would like to contribute to the podcast, please visit my Patrion page in the show notes. 20% of your proceeds each month will be going to a different organization, fighting racism and providing legal support either inside or outside Canada and 20% of your proceeds will be going to doctors without borders at $20 per month. You could become a VIP patron. I get access to my weekly conscious body sessions. I present embodied spiritual and depth, psychology based reflections from my own journey with movement and mindfulness tools intended to help you access your innate resilience and the strength of your human heartSpeaker 3:
To , uh , give you space to talk about how you met now. Cause it sounds like a juicy story.Speaker 2:
Hello, Anita, if it's a dutySpeaker 3:
You can do so . So we had this conversation, Jane, as I said, trying to remember how, and , and , and Maggie had one, a memory of , because, you know, sort of , kind of what happens after for me particularly , um , you know, paramedic, pause it and all that, but the memory kind of goes a bit like that, but I was like, no, no, we met here. And especially when you've had a friendship, that's spanned a couple of decades now as well. Um, we actually did meet at the seven Stephen Lawrence campaign because we were both stewards and at the time I'm pretty sure I was either volunteering or on the trustee board of another very prominent , um, uh, critical organization in on grassroots activism, around race, which has new monitoring project at the time in , in , in East London. So one of the very few organizations and unsurprisingly, they lost their funding, you know , as a result of austerity, et cetera, et cetera. But , um, this organization had , um, coordinated and campaign on behalf of a number of families who had either had deaths in custody or who had awful families who had been impacted by racism in the local community. So it was always a lot of very grassroots activists and local families. So we were part of , um , the stewarding team at the, at the independent inquiry on the Stephen Lawrence campaign at the time. I just want to say, Oh , well , you know , the campaign to , Oh, well , okay. So I was new lynching project. I just have to say, because Rocky has a really interesting story around this .Speaker 2:
We can talk about that . Okay. So , um, my favorite, my claim to fame is what happened at the Lawrence inquiry. So what happened is , um , this inquiry went on for a number of months and they investigated, there were lots of witnesses. And then there were , uh, I think it was a couple of days when the five , uh, accused the five potential perpetrators. And we all know that they did it right. Came to the inquiry and they gave evidence yet . And they came in, they were really cocky. They were like, you know, they were, there was thousands of people, right. There were police holding them back Lincoln arm cells of people, kind of shouting and screaming. And there was these young men with various friends and family members that they've gotten into the inquiry and they'd refuse to answer any questions at all. And they really stuck their two fingers up, all the people there , the family, the whole inquiry, everything. And they came outSpeaker 3:
And they were really cocky. Right. And all of these thousands of people were being held up by the police. Right. And everybody was trying to get them. And I was, I wasn't behind one of these barriers because I was part of the family campaign. So what I just found myself sort of walking along and quite near the door where they came out and then the doors fall open and these men came out and they were like, fucking this and fucking that. And I was just like, Julie covered towards me. Right? I'm like, what do I do? What do I do? All everybody I knew wanted to kind of attack them. And the police were stopping them and they just came towards me. And I was like, what do I do? I have to do something. I have to do something. And then what I do , and I've never done this before, and I've never done this since. I just wouldn't say that it's not usually Dave , but I'm very proud of this moment. What I did is I gobbed in Jamie court's face Jamie acorn . There's two brothers near Lake and Jamie, I got , so I grabbed in his face and he just went like this. And there's this photo that's been portrayed of him in the press ever since I've been like this lunatic. And he was doing that cause I got in his face and then he went to punch me and I ducked and he hit a daily mirror. Daily mirror is a major newspaper in the UK, a dating mirror report behind me. And then front page of the news on the daily mirror was like a headline . The day I got kicked in the face by a fascist, that was completely brilliant. Right? So that is my moment. My favorite moment of the whole Lawrence and quieter, I think, I think it's actually, it's a , it is, as we can say, it's a , it's a, it's we're , we're being quite, you know, we're laughing about it, you know, or there is something it is in hindsight, 20 years on, but there's actually a really serious moment to this. You know, there was that family, the Lawrence family were denied justice , uh , five mergers. They would deny justice by the British, by the British legal system. This was a , this is racial injustice at its heart by , by, by every system they were denied and had that family not be so persistent to pursue justice on their own off their own backs, that family was ripped apart. You know, it took years, it was a, it was an independent inquiry. And actually as a result of that inquiry, what happened was that the first, you know, in the UK, if I'm correct raggy there , that the term institutionalized racism came about, it was as a result of that inquiry in the UK, something that all other campaigners had known about for many, many years, but that finally the British UK recognized that they were an acknowledge that there had been institutionalized racism within the police force. Now Rocky's response in that moment. Yeah. What she was actually for me, what she was channeling was the rage rage of that family, the rage in everybody's bodies that could not be acted out. And that is an action. It went some way . I mean, you know, so we laugh about it, but there is something incredibly powerful in that moment.Speaker 1:
I feel like rage is something that , um, that , uh , is really coming up as something we need to make space for perhaps a new and , and all mental health spaces and all wellness spaces as something that is part of the healing process instead of this, like this , uh, in the wellness and mental health world, this predominant focus on calm and break elated and like all that shit that doesn't acknowledge people's pain and give them space to fully express it and rate .Speaker 3:
Right. Absolutely. I mean, I, you know, I can , I will share a personal story. That's very life for me and my family at this moment in time. And , and I should say when I said to you earlier as an introduction, you know, sometimes, you know, the work chooses me. I don't choose the work. And actually this work is being married with a very, you know, with a very personal narrative for me with a very personal wounding around race. And six years ago, I moved from London , um, rather nine usually . And I remember some of my black friends saying to me, you want to move out of London, one of the most diverse cities in the UK, because you want to be close to nature. Have you really thought this through as to what that will mean in terms of the communities that you're going to be going and living in? And I moved to , um , this very, you know, what I thought was quite, it was, it was potentially liberal, progressive had some subculture to it. But the reality is is that the minute you move out of the cities in the UK, you, you enter into a world that is actually not as diverse and therefore is rooted in some very, very , um, stuck ideology and conditioning around race. And that's what my family and I have experienced. And most particularly my son who is up until this year, he was the only Brown skinned kid, or I should say off color in his entire year. Wow . And that resulted in, has resulted in a number of racial incidents in a number, in a number of instance , where he's been racially profiled to the point where last week, the incident that he experienced that was not up by a teacher and actually resulted in him having so much rage at the system. So much rage at the system that it impacted on his whole week. So here we have, then a young boy of color, re-enacting a stereotype of a young, angry Brown skin boy, or, you know, that whole stereotype getting himself into trouble. And where it was rooted from was the fact that where his rage was cause he came home and said, if this kid does it again, I'm going to, I'm going to beat him up. And actually the messages from everybody else was the comments that were made, the racist abuse that was sent his way. Actually most people around him said, you completely deserve to be violence. This person, your rage needs to go somewhere. But of course from a family's perspective is that that's not changed. That's not healing his trauma and it's not healing yours. And actually what's happened is that the institution, that's not really knowledge and not really dealt with this appropriately has not managed those two young boys education and teaching. They've not really managed that , that , that the facilitation of awareness and talking and the language that is required has meant that you've got, so this body that is completely impacted and has nowhere for that rage to go. Now we know social activism is a route , it's a channel for our anger, but you explained that to young people who actually haven't got that language yet. Haven't managed to channel that yet. Absolutely. I'm so sorry.Speaker 2:
Hmm .Speaker 3:
So sorry.Speaker 2:
And it's kind of heartbreaking, isn't it? That here we are, right. Recreating the dynamics again and again, and a new generation is caught up in its dynamics, either perpetrating racial violence or experience in racial violence and just caught up in that soup where we just go on and on and on. Right. And, you know, I mean, it's heartbreaking yeah . That , um, you know, that, that, that your son, right ?Speaker 3:
Who is it ?Speaker 2:
Yeah. I mean, obviously I know Anita , it is done very well. So, you know, for me, it's, it's , it's deeply painful to see him going through that and , and, and just not being able to fix it for him. Right. Not knowing how we can, you know, not knowing what to say to him to just make it okay.Speaker 3:
Right. Because we could ,Speaker 2:
As a young man growing up in a world where racist violence is on the rise and he has to learn to navigate it, and it's just so wrong, but,Speaker 3:
But this is where we were at . And this is the, of the , uh , of, of, of the institutions that are of those, you know, the, the, the politics that is at play, you know, we are living in unprecedented times in terms of the rise of fascism in terms of , in terms of the rise of the ride , which is why it's ever more important that the work we do is out there in the mainstream. And that's, what's raised residences is that actually, when we see it on the rise at this moment, we have to have communities that are able to talk and able to challenge it and come from a place that , that they're not, as, you know, they're not going into their dirty pain. They're not going into that wound space when they're talking about it. So we can have conversations that are very, that are very honest, that are very compassionate and that are based around healing. And that's what, what you've created with , um, your, your program called race resilience.Speaker 2:
Yeah , yeah, yeah.Speaker 3:
My bedtime , we need to hear, we need to hear. Okay .Speaker 2:
Okay. So let me start with a little bit of the history of, of how, and then Anita is going to come in , um, to talk about the creation of race resilience. So I started off, I created a , um, a program, which I still run. Um, I'm , I'm running in a number of places called challenging the dynamics of racism. And that is a six hour program where we look at how we're socialized and conditioned in the dynamics of racism, how it plays out, how we're patterned, how we can intervene, what gets in the way of intervening , how we can have conversations. So there's this program which I've been running for over a year now. Right. And, and, and , uh, I'm running it quite a lot. I do, you know, I'm getting a lot of, a lot of interest , but I, you know, for me, what really, I just felt that , um, as, as I developed, I really felt like I wanted to bring some of the other , um, experiences and some of the other knowledge, knowledge, some of the other knowledge that I have, right. And I may apprentice movement teacher , um, and I've done 20 years at least of trauma healing. Right. So I knew when I was holding space that I needed to, you know, bring in little exercises to regulate people's nervous system. I needed to help people surf the waves. Uh, you know, I needed to hold that, but what, I didn't have the skill and the timeframe to do in that six hour course , um , which is now two, three hours online. Right. What I didn't have, the timeframe skills that I needed , uh, was to , um, was to really transform yet to really become resilient around these topics and to be able to transform the energy and the experiences. Right. And so I, I said, I approached the Nita and said, I've got this really amazing idea for this course. And I think that this is the next level of work. I think very few people are working on this level. Certainly I haven't seen anyone working on this level in Europe. I think there's some few coming out of us , Canada who are doing really amazing work, who are actually much more advanced than we are in Europe. But , but I think that this is really next level work, right. It's bringing together a number of modalities, the number of professional , uh, different professionalisms and, you know, 40 years experience we have tweeners are fighting for social justice. Right. So I approached a neater and said, listen, I've got this great idea, but I need you basically. I mean, there need to is, you know, nobody holds this word like Anita basically. And I know I need to talk about, you know, what the resilience part is of , of the racial justice work that I was already.Speaker 3:
Thanks. Yeah. Thanks Regie . So it's a , it is, this is a real , um, you know, obviously this is the first time that we're professionally collaborating. Although we have been very good friends and, and , um , you know, sister activists for many, many years, and that is the important thing, you know, we have been activists , um, on, on, on, on, on, in various , um, community organizing groups, but this is a professional collaboration and , and, and it really does it merge and meld our expertise. So the idea of race resilience is that, how do we, how can we develop this, this term? You know, what is race resilience? So we've kind of been really looking at that, how do we understand race resilience? You know, what is that term? So, you know, when we think about the definitions of resilience, you know , and I, and I should, I should also say that the other thing that I am doing at the moment in terms of this training to being this lifelong perpetual trainer is I'm working with, with , um, um, and commend DFO of , uh, of, from , from Lou of Lumoss , who has developed the resilience toolkit in America, which has a very interesting social justice angle in terms of , um, uh , of, of, of working around resilience. And it's an embodied practice in it and embodied practices as well. But when we, when we look at the term resilience, you know, resilience is often considered that , that, that phrase that , you know, how can you, how can you bounce back from adversity? How can we build resilience too , in terms of the , the challenges that we we experienced in life? Okay. Now there's that aspect of resilience, but there is also other aspects of resilience in terms of race. Okay. So resilience is often looking at, so if we kind of just deepen the deepen, the definition, say resilience is, is looking at what are my internal resources. Cause often a capitalist in a near liberal society, resilience is often termed as looking at what are your internal resources? How can you , um , pull everything together internally to overcome living in a , in a capitalist unjust society, unequal , unjust society, right? And we, we give you the mindfulness practices, nothing wrong with mindfulness. Okay. And just in my eyes right now, I know , but what mindfulness is doing is, and why it's pushed through in corporations is for more productivity for you to be more of fodder for the capitalist machine. When you look at resilience from a social justice framework, what we're saying is that actually resilience is a social justice issue because resilience , everybody can be resilient if you give them resources to be, if you teach the skills to be yes, from a racial perspective, but then from a race perspective, individuals who are impacted by racism, how can we ensure that they are resilient to not just overcome their experience, but also to change that and transform that adversity, she's much more from a social justice angle. And I'm from the other angle, from those who are, if we can raise the awareness in those who have taken the positions of the oppressor, how can they be resilience to do the work, to dismantle the systems that they know? I no longer serving them and no longer serving society to have the stamina toSpeaker 2:
Sit and then discomfort too , to not run away,Speaker 3:
To be able to handle the less safe, perceived safety by exposing yourself and being able to hold steady. Right. Absolutely, absolutelySpeaker 2:
Steady. Right. You know , each time. And I, and I've learned this from my own experience, right? Learning about, you know, ways we're all socialized and conditioned in dynamics of power and oppression, whether it's race or , or, or other things. Right. And I've learned that from my own healing of the moments where I've been oppressive and, and they've been many great . We , we , you know, I'm a barista , right. I'm trained to exert power over somebody. And that comes into my personal life. If I feel I'm like Bush , you don't , I can wipe everyone out in a three mile radius. Right. But, you know, I've had to learn to sit in that discomfort and, you know, and , and, and learn different ways of being, because we create these neural pathways right. Of what we feel is the, you know, we're so socialized and we're conditioned, right? So we create pathways around our thoughts and our behaviors and our actions. And that's what happens a lot with racism. Right. And what we do is we help people just hold, just sit that and stop and pause for a minute, take a breath, right. And be able to make a different decision. Right. And once you've done it, once, you know, you know, you get a little pathway there and then you do it again and again, and before long way , I'm now catching myself all over the place with thoughts and behaviors notice noticing as I shrink back and I'm just recreating the pathways. Right. Um , so for example, let me just, I think it's really important to name my own racism. Um, you know, at a time like this, where the attacks on black communities are through the roof. I, I make it part of my practice now to talk about anti-blackness. And I've heard so many messages all the way through my life that black people are dangerous criminals, this, that, and I live in an area of London where there's a very high percentage of black community and, you know, so I might be walking to the tube and I'll hear three boys behind me. Right. Laughing and joking, and I'll jump and grab my bag, or I'll look at them. They're black boys and I'll jump and grab my bag. And I'll be like, what are you doing? And I'll sort of just relax and smile straight sweetly, and just let my system calm down and know that , that actually, there's nothing dangerous there. And I noticed I don't do that with white boys, but I do that with black boys. Right. And some of the research shows that by the age of 14, all young people, so your son's age, by the age of 14, all young people, if they're shown images of black bodies, they will have a tumor response. Right. And amygdala response. Right. And that's not just white children, that's black children as well. Black children will see other black faces and they'll have a trauma response because by the age of 14, they've had so many messages that their own people are dangerous. Right. So we all are socialized and conditioned. Right. And you know, it's not so bad. It's, you know, I do feel ashamed and I've had to, I've had to really look at that, but I feel, I feel much more in control and proud that actually I'm doing something about it and standing up and talking about anti-blackness right. As, as you know, because it's not right. What's happening. We all have to take a step forward and bring everyone say , like we can't change unless we makeSpeaker 3:
The unconscious conscious. And, and , and I hear I'm so appreciate you sharing that braggy . I mean, I lived in an area of Toronto that I can practice this awareness and how a visceral response to different bodies and black bodies. And so I've been trying, I've been doing that, just walking down this path from my studio to home. And I'm just like, what the fuck? My body's fucking doing this thing. Or I'm noticing these like visceral responses. And I'm like, gradually, the more I notice it, like you said, the alternate responses are being worn in, but unless we find a way to bring the body into the conversation and we notice these unconscious visceral responses, we can't, we can't add do the, in myself. If I don't see it and feel it right.Speaker 2:
You create spaces. Sorry, I need to, I'll just say one more thing. Unless we can create spaces which are supported brave spaces where people can show up and, you know, and look at these issues in a space that's held safely. We're always safe enough as, I mean , say safety is a word that an issue . And I have been talking about, you know, what, who decides what's safe because it's different for everybody, right? Unless we can create those spaces where there's enough skill and enough support to allow us to go on a journey, not a journey that rips your heart out through your tonsils, a journey where you're going to feel some discomfort. And you're like, and you get curious and you learn, you know, Nita is bringing in a lot of chigong practices in order to help support the grounding and the shift in, right. We're going to have a daily chigong practice for all the participants as well, just five minutes, right . Something that you can easily do, but that will keep us grounded all the way through, unless you have these spaces, you know, you just remain caught up in these dynamics, right. Just firm up in your head and say, no, it's really terrible. What's going on. It's really terrible. But actually we can all do something. Yeah . We just have to show up,Speaker 3:
Well, we start with our whip does, can start with our own unraveling in our own systems and bodies. I think that was just, just a couple of things , um, that, you know, that, that, that, that the visual response , um , murky , I was going to say that kind of like, you know , this, when we see bodies that are the trauma response, I think it's very rarely to people actually understand that, you know, the amygdala thighs it's 7 million for the second to know me , this is not conscious.Speaker 2:
What happened to me at the Lawrence inquiry. These boys were coming towards me and these guys and they were, and I could just see all these people were held back and I was like, I've got to do something. And , and, you know, and I've never spot in someone's face. Right. And I, I hope I never spit in someone's face again, but I have to say, I'm quite glad I did it in that moment.Speaker 3:
You know, sometimes people do deserve us, but spit in the face. Right . You know, I mean, we're talking about people that murdered and got away with it and got away with it. Well, well, not now, but at that time, at that time, I think Jane , you know, just coming back to the course that the , that a lot of not, not many people actually know that this is what's happening in their bodies around when that , you know, that there's, there's that amazing. Um, ah , man, I don't mean to say amazing, but the , the, the , um, footage is that in central park of the woman with the dog? Hmm . Yes. There is a black guy who, who challenged her around the fact that she shouldn't have been walking her dog in a space that was , um , preserved because of there being a lot of, I think it was birds and wildlife and that actually , it was not safe for them to be, to have her hair , to have a dog there. You could see. And I remember watching it as a trauma trained , um , and body therapist going, she is having a complete trauma, like the way she was holding the dog that her, you know, her, her reaction was so over, over the instant and the challenge, it was a very, he was very rational. He's you could see that his nervous system was really in you. He also knew that his life was under threat as well. You could see the minute and her response to saying, I'm going to call the police that dah , dah , dah . But this is what we're talking about, you know, that and hoping that, you know, in the work that we're doing with having people coming into these spaces, that they can understand that own response and also checking in their communities and in their environments , what is taking place when people are interacting around race and what, how, how can we support that? How can we be resilient to either have conversations, to challenge, to interrupt, to disrupt? So your course is five, two and a half hour live sessions, right? Like that's what I love about your courses that it's live . And , um , it's at a time if you're in North America that fits into the middle of your day, which is great. Um, and it's five, six weeks with one week in between. And you also have affinity group options as well for people to meet with groups separately outside of the training. Is that how it works? Absolutely. Should I say ready? You can go ahead. And so what we will also be doing in those affinity groups is offering , um , exercises at the end of, at the end of each week, that will be reflection pieces or active processing pieces that that groups will be, will be given an opportunity to do. And some of that really is about that, that, you know, so some of the questions it's not just uncomfortableness, but also resourcing questions as well. So, so say for example, one of the practices that we're looking at doing is creating something called comfort kits. Now, if you've worked in within trauma, you know, comfort kits are often , um, different objects that will draw upon your senses to ensure that if you have a flashback or an experience that is really challenging for you, that you can draw upon certain objects that ground you and soothe you right in that present moment. But for us, we'll be looking at individuals coming on a drawing upon ancestral objects of their infinity groups . So drawing upon some of that, that lineage, that knowledge, that ancestry and that wisdom that brings them some grounding and also connects them to understanding what and why they're here and why they're doing that work.Speaker 2:
It's important to say that the infinity groups will be based on racial identity. So people will be in a group of between three or four people. And with the invitation is optional, the affinity groups, but with the invitation we're suggesting that they make between sessions for an hour , um, uh, you know, at least an hour, if they want to meet more, that's totally fine, obviously. Um, and , and, and part of this trip, part of this, it's not just all about racism and harm and trauma. You know, a part of course is very much around celebration and beauty and brilliance and connection, and that all of these amazing things that we bring as part of our racial identity, whether we're Asian, we're black, we're white, we all have a lot of resources which were about celebration and connection as well. Yeah. And it's , it's, it's helping people tap into that as well. Right. It's, you know, it's , it's bringing people through a program where we can connect with each other. We can connect with ourselves where we can connect with our lineage and, and , you know, really begin to understand , uh , notice, right. Being able to notice, increase in this work is all about, for me, what I, how I see this work and the more I hold this work, I think so much about it is raising our awareness. Right? It's like when, when you talk about walking through Toronto, right. And I've noticed in your body responses, right. If you're, if you're able to notice, right . What's happening for you personally, and how your patterning is playing out, then, then you have an opportunity for change. Right. And that change as it gets embedded, becomes easier and easier.Speaker 3:
Right. Um , and that is, is, is, is supporting not just you, it's supporting your communities, your families, your workplaces, right. That butterfly effect, you know, we're hoping that, you know, we're hoping for, I believe I've really changed through this work. Um, and you know, I mean, to be honest, Anita , I'm not sure that you have really changed. You've been this brilliant since I've known you.Speaker 3:
Right . When I first went , we were in a women project, I was on the board and Anita was a staff member. I mean, we were in our twenties then, right. We were in our late twenties and we were running violence against women projects. Right. And Anita was running the mental health services, I think, and was responsible for so much of these groundbreaking work around women. I mean, you were in your twenties, right. So you can understand no way straight went straight to a needs . I was like, listen, I've got an idea.Speaker 3:
Well, you know, what I love too, is that because you were activists for 20 years, you understand the stamina and resilience and steadiness that you need to stay with this work. And that it's not a sprint. It's like, it's not a sprint. And you know that if you don't find a way to stay steady through it, people turn away as a lot of people have since George Floyd smarter. Right. Absolutely. And I think Jane, you know, the important thing is, is that we're also really conscious and aware that there been a little crack. We were talking about this earlier rag . You weren't, we , you know, it's not just joyful. It's Brianna Taylor's know that . It's really interesting. Yeah. That it's George Floyd that we will remember, but we don't remember Brianna , Tony's that whole thing about race and gender and intersectionality around remembering people are remembering this, but you know, the Kimberle Crenshaw work around how many say her name. It's really important that we remember George Floyd and Brianna Taylor in the same breath. I love that you dovetail conversation around gender, gender based violence as well. Like, I, I, I really appreciate that. Yes, yes. You can go into queerness yet. YeahSpeaker 2:
Know , that's , that's a very important, you know, and it's not just that there's like many different identities we all own,Speaker 3:
I do . What's the activist that, you know, there was a trans activist who was murdered during the time of , of, of, of, of, of , um, the, the Georgia , the joint , the BLM protests. And nobody said her name.Speaker 2:
Yes. And I mean, that's something that becomes very important when , uh, you know, you know, when, when I train it's it's, you know, it's, you can't, you can't be transphobic or homophobic and, and be a , be a person of color and say, look, all this racism that is coming towards me. Right. You know, basically, I mean , there's huge amounts of homophobia in, in communities of color. Right. And you know, you , you , you can't have part of it and not all of it. And we come from that perspective, we've been in, why do we talk about race? Let's talk about that. Very, you know, I know probably time is precious, right. But the reason , uh, I talk about race and he can talk for herself is , um, when I first started doing this work, nobody was talking about race, right. And race has the biggest toxicity in it. And when you look at the dynamics of racism, how it plays out , um, w when you look at that, you can see the dynamics of many other forms of oppression, right? Education, class, age, sexuality, whatever agenda, you can see that. But if I was looking at sexuality, I wouldn't necessarily be able to look at understand race. Right. So it has a particular pattern in, and it's the most toxic. My idea was, if we can talk about race, we can, we can see the dynamics of everything else. And so those other dynamics do weave in. Yeah. But we focus on one because if we focus on too many, the message gets diluted. Right. When I first started training, I started training with a number of different issues. And we'll talk about sexuality here, and we'll talk about this here and the message didn't come out strong. So now I just talk about race and we weave in lots of other things, because within the groups met , there's many different identities that are very welcomed to come to the forefront, right. We run spaces that are truly intersectional, where no matter who you are, what you bring, you're absolutely welcome. And , and we hold a safe space around that. But yeah, I mean, it's really important to , to recognize that yeah, you can't pick and choose oppression because they compound as well. When, you know, for , for many of us, we hope for the most marginalized, the most vulnerable, they're always holding a number of these and they compound, it's not just, it's like, it's like an orchestra. Right. You get, you get different instruments, right. The violins and the trombone and the drums or whatever. Right. You get drums and orchestras, I dunno . Right. But you put it together. Okay. You put it together. Right. And it's not just three separate instruments. It's music. Yeah. Um , and so that's how our identities work. Right. They compound, they, they, they make more than the sum of their parts. And therefore that is a really important part of it .Speaker 3:
Beautiful. Thank you. I mean, I think, I think, you know, when I , when I, when I, when I'm hearing you , you say that raggy , that the thing that came up to me is that it is important at this moment in time. But I, to centralize the fact that race and the toxicity of race on bodies and health is being paid out in front of our eyes, by the fact that the black communities are the ones who have been most impacted by COVID and this pandemic, that's just, you know, just put it in present moment, the question of race toxicity, what, what is happening for black communities, you know, in the UK, it was very clear that black communities in the UK would be most impacted in terms of deaths and in terms of the severity. Yeah. All of the, part of the actual virus. So there is something about the health inequalities. There is something about the way that the race, if we look at the fact around transgenerational trauma, the impact on actually the gene impression, you know, the actual genes due to the , the , the , the transmitted , the , the , um , inherited trauma, but it's actually impacting on black bodies right here. Right now, we are seeing that with this and it , how could we not talk about race, about racial injustice?Speaker 2:
Can I define black bodies in this circumstance? So in the UK, we haven't, but some of us, particularly some of us from , from a certain generation, we grew up at a time where , um, there was like an umbrella term for different racialized communities. So people that are black people that are Brown, whatever, right. We ha we , we joined forces together to fight against those forces of oppression under the political term of blackness. And that is still held by some of us from a certain generation. I know, particularly the younger generation , they don't really like it, and it's not something that's , um , your audience will understand. So I just wanted to find that using a lady in the U SSpeaker 3:
So I definitely, I mean, I am of that , uh, you know, when, when I started my work that we, and actually it was interesting, cause I used to do a, I did a prevention program in schools work, put for Southall black sisters. So I used to go into schools at the time. And this was in , uh, in, in, in , in, in, in South hall , which is a very, very interesting area of London. And, you know , in fact, it's, it's the , the majority of the minority in the schools that I was working with were white students. The majority were either , um, uh, of African descent from Caribbean descent or South Asian. Yeah. So they, they didn't understand the term black. So it was always interesting to say, you know, we're defining that term in a political sense as a unifying term against colonization and against depression and against the racism that we experienced , because we also know in terms of the history of colonization and in particularly the UK, is that it's been a , it's been a , it's been a di divided world conquering. And if we, as communities, can't come , can't organize ourselves in response. Yeah. It actually offers us much more power on unity. So it is the very interesting term, 20 years at 20 years later to go, okay, so we are now at the stage where actually the, that there is a lot of conversations happening that it's not a, it's, it's a, it's a problematic term to be using just like , because of anti-blackness. So I think , I think it's an important , um, it's an important exploration and it's an important conversation. Beautiful. Um, who is the training aimed atSpeaker 2:
Everyone? Right. So , um, uh, I mean, it really is. So in my classes , um, I I've been holding for a year open classes where people have been coming from all sorts of backgrounds. Right. So , um, generally I often get , uh, half, half white or I get predominantly white . Right. So , um, it's very accessible for all. I get different ages, different backgrounds. I get lawyers, I get therapists, I get community workers. I get business people. I get , uh , you know, there's a whole range because it's very , um, it's very, you know, there's a lot of different parts and there's a lot of science. We , we explain a lot of the signs of how we're socialized in condition, which is really enlightening for people. So we're saying everybody right. Because , um, because so far in the work that I've done , um, I've had so many mixed audiences and everybody, the feedback I get is, is outstanding. Right. I mean, you know, there's, there's, there's, there's often , there's, there's always not always, there's occasionally one person that doesn't like it. And, you know, sometimes people don't really want to look at some of their passing in their conditioning, right. Or , or maybe I'm just not the right trainer for them. Right. Or maybe, you know, maybe I've done something I didn't know. Right. Sometimes we're not a good fit . So I can't promise for everybody you're going to love it. But what I can say is that, you know, at least 95% of the people that come into most spaces , um, are, you know, really, really get a lot from it. I'm really positive in their feedback. And that's, my space is right Anita to the mix I want to be in . I want to be a participant on our own before we hit record. I had that moment.Speaker 3:
This is the first time I've interviewed two people for the podcast. And you two immediately like had your banter and you were really funny and I'm like, Oh, okay, I'm good. So your , your relationship and your sense of is ,Speaker 1:
Um, so such a powerful, like way to hold space for people. And so I think that's one of the things that's so unique about, about what you're offering is that you're also , um , bringing people into your relationship and, and the care that you have for each other too,Speaker 2:
The Shiner , uh,Speaker 1:
Where can people, where can people find you for the training?Speaker 2:
We have a website , uh , Typhon resilience.com,Speaker 1:
Sorry, race, hyphen resilience.com. It'll be in the show notes as well. Um ,Speaker 2:
Um , also you can catch me. I facilitate a , um , online forum called race talk. Um, I think there's a couple ways talk . Mine's one with all the beautiful tulips . If you want to look on that and you can go on there and you'll find his house off the course, as well as lots of really interesting conversations on risk . If you want to talk more, if you want to, you know, if you've enjoyed what you heard, you want to be part of the conversation, join us at restaurant quiz . You know , there's 2,800 people talking about race. It's a , it's almost like a social experiment. I'm trying to see if I can support you like the amount of people to become anti-racist to become active anti-racist . And there's a lot of learning. Initially there was a lot of conflict and sometimes there is conflict and that's fine. You know, we allow that , um, and you know, conflict is part of transformation, right? It's learning moments. Right. But , but there's a lot of deep learning that happens a lot of shared resources, a lot of community. Yeah. It's really great. It's, it's, it's, it's a mix . It's, you know, I did a little survey on numbers and I think it's, you know, it's pretty close to 50% white, 50% nonwhite. It's a very diverse, very diverse. There's a lot of people, all walks of life. We want to life. There's a lot from Europe. There's a lot from Canada. The U S um, is, you know, there's more from Europe than there are from us and Canada because I'm based in your heart rate, but it is , um, yeah, it's , it's very diverse. It's very mixed.Speaker 1:
And your last race resilience program sold out, didn't it?Speaker 2:
This is our first one. This is the launch. And it's a special launch price as well. So we're going to be running it again in March. We didn't do the second one in March, but this one we've priced it at 260 pounds, which is for the whole program, the whole six week program. Right. And you know, that, you know, we think that that's very reasonable given you get two of us for six weeks and 12 and a half hours of teaching. Plus, you know, there'll be a website, there's a website with resources, you'll have videos, you'll have , um, uh , uh , chigong practice. You love all sorts of extras. Um, and, and , um, you know, I sound like a marketing machine. Don't I, but it's definite as Britain at this, right. It's kind of to be one of us, needs to be the one with the , with the two politics. Right. I'm the one that's, that's doing that. That's not true. Both got to politics, but , um , it's, we're not going to do it at this price again, basically we're doing it because it is our launch. You know, we want people to, we want people to engage. We want people to, to learn, to grow, to develop, to bring change in their communities. And so, yeah, that's, that's, that's all right .Speaker 3:
I think they, you know, it's , it's really important that , that , um, you know, for , for listeners who are, who are, who are just tuning in that as with anything and any kinds of, you know, learning journey, all we're asking is that you'd be courageous and show up. And all we're really asking is that you step into an open space to be, to be vulnerable, to know what you don't know, to just kind of accept that there will be places that , that we will be going, including us as facilitators. You never really know, as , you know, when you hold space, who's going to be in that room while it's going to show up. But we, we are courageous and doing that because we really feel that the time is now, and this work needs to happen. Now, you know, I opened this year in 2020, and my, my, my new year's greetings to everybody was, you know, we are the ones that we have been waiting for that June Jordan quote. And so often through this year, I have really been, I have really been challenged by that, that just I've had to go. There is a reason why I was born at this time. There is a reason we were born at this time. So we are, it is an invitation, it is an invitation. That's what we're asking to be courageous. Join us. I'm so glad that people will be able to work with you both, because what I feel sitting here talking to you both, as we, as we wrap up, as I feel this like fire in my heart and my belly, not just my, not just a fire in my belly, but I feel this like fire in my heart to , um , want to continue , um, with both of you. So,Speaker 2:
And I think I want to add one more thing, right. You know, we've, we've quite deliberately timed it because, you know, the U S selection is, is, is, is going to be slap bang in the middle of it. And we were very conscious of that with timing , because, you know, this is a time when people are really challenged, it's becoming more and more toxic, more andSpeaker 3:
More bitter out there. And we were like, very cute. We need to get out there. We need to give people the resources to be able to handle some of this toxicity that is seeping through all of us. Right. So the first session is before the election and then the rest follow after. Brilliant, brilliant. I think it's the election is what date is the election? The third, the third, right . So we'll have had two sessions, more the election. Brilliant. Okay. So folks, you can, you'll be able to see , um, where to read more about their work and about their program. And I so appreciate you both being here and, and I'm holding this conversation here with me. Thank you for the work that you both do in the world. And I'm just grateful to connect with you both. Thank you so much for your work as well, Jane, which is amazing as well. Thank you by Iraqi , by Anita.