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Transforming Historical Harms

The 96-page manual, Transforming Historical Harms by David Anderson Hooker and Amy Potter Czajkowski, was uploaded October 2013 on Coming to the Table‘s site. The manual gives a holistic framework to address historical injustices, in a way that engages all participants, and identifies the aftermath and legacies of [generational] trauma. This manual was developed by Coming to the Table and has been a collective effort of Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP) and their Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program. From the STAR program, came the group Coming to the Table, which itself was launched in 2006 when a group of EMU participants gathered to address the historical trauma between descendants of enslaved African-Americans and enslaver European-Americans.

The framework is given through the lens of trauma and provides a holistic approach to transform traumas from historical injustices for healing to occur. In order to be possible, all participants affected must be included and address all the following aspects: “Facing History; Making Connections; Healing Wounds; and Taking Action”.

The manual provides five sections and an appendix:
Section I: Overview, context and using the manual
Section II: The THH Framework
Section III: Practices of the THH Approach
Section IV: Analysis and Process Design
Section V: Tools and Resources for Practicing the THH Approach

Below is an excerpt from the manual, you can find the it in full on Coming to the Table’s site here.

From the manual…

The THH Framework
The Transforming Historical Harms (THH) manual articulates a Framework for addressing the historical harms mentioned above as well as the many others present in societies around the world. The framework looks at historical injustices and their present manifestations through the lens of trauma and identifies the mechanisms for the transmission of historical trauma: legacies and aftermaths. These are the beliefs and structures responsible for transmitting trauma responses and traumagenic circumstances between generations. The framework then offers a comprehensive approach to transforming historical harms through Facing History; Making Connections; Healing Wounds; and Taking Action. Transforming historical harms must occur through the practice of all these dimensions. The order in which they are engaged can be different, but none can be omitted. This approach will be the primary focus of the manual. Finally, the framework includes the levels at which healing needs to occur, which range from the individual to the international level. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to analysis and interventions at the individual and group levels.

The framework we offer in this manual is unique in several ways. The four part THH Approach is holistic because each dimension is interconnected with the others and the approach only works when all the dimensions are present. The framework introduces specific understandings of the concepts of legacy and aftermath, and transformation is considered incomplete unless both beliefs and structures have been addressed that have been responsible for perpetuating historical trauma and harms. The THH framework includes all groups that have participated in and have been touched by the historical trauma and harms rather than focusing exclusively on the group or groups that have been named the “victims.” There is clear and ample evidence that in the context of massive and historical trauma, those who were victimized, those who perpetrated, those who were bystanders AND the descendants of each group are all effected. It is our assumption that participation and healing is required at some point for all groups in order for the approach to be effective. Not only is it requisite for all groups to participate, but for consideration to be made for the unique manifestations of trauma across generations for each group and for healing interventions to occur at the individual and group levels.

How to use this manual:
The intention of this manual is to provide value to those trying to address the personal, familial, communal and/or societal remnants of traumagenic historical experiences that continue to hurt or limit the lives of individuals, groups, societies and nations. The pain or limitation could result from overt violence such as enslavement, war, colonialism or genocide, or more subtle forms of violence like discrimination, poverty and personal or societal exclusion.

Objectives: Those using this manual will:
1. Learn how historical harms, which are current challenges in our lives and communities, are rooted in large-scale historical traumas.
2. Identify how Legacy and Aftermath describe the transmission of historical trauma and harms.
3. Apply the Transforming Historical Harms Approach that includes:
a. Exploring approaches to facing history that help identify ways to move forward;
b. Learning how making connections — building relationships across historical divisions — can create partnerships capable of working towards effective change;
c. Identifying the importance of creating spaces and methods that welcome and support healing wounds (mind, body and spirit) from truama both individually and collectively; and
d. Taking action to address beliefs, behaviors and structures responsible for ongoing harms.
4. Explore historical trauma and harms in specific contexts, and learn about strategies for using the THH approach in these situations.

Above is an excerpt of the manual. We recommend looking at the manual in full, which can be found here.

About Coming to the Table
Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery. Our vision for the United States is of a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past—from slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned.

Follow on Twitter: @ComingToTable

About EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding educates a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory and research. Our combined vision is to prepare, transform, and sustain leaders to create a just and peaceful world.

Follow on Twitter: @CJP_EMU

Resource Link: http://comingtothetable.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01-Transforming_Historical_Harms.pdf

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