Healing Histories Project

Curriculum and Tools

Over time, we will be releasing new curated stories, curriculum, and tools related to the Medical Industrial Complex timeline, and other Healing Histories Project work. We will also be sharing resources from partners that expand on the work of transforming the Medical Industrial Complex and interrupting the conditions that fuel it. You can think of this “curriculum” as a study guide. It’s a suggestion for how you might use the Healing Histories Project timelines as tools. This means it’s largely a series of questions designed to support your interaction with the material on these pages.

Remember that this timeline is made up of stories: accountings of real people living in real time. What will help you to not read through the timeline as though it was just data? What practices do you have to honor ancestors? What does it mean for you to memorialize, or witness, acts of violence in these timelines that are still unaddressed? If thinking about stories like this is new to you, then maybe you make an offering, light a candle, or pull a tarot card. Maybe you say out loud, “I remember,” and keep coming back to remembering that these are complex people whose lives you are reading about.

Use this timeline to support your remembering. As you read through the timeline, notice : how much of what you are reading is about your own people and legacies? How much is it not? This question applies to you, whether your people are those who were criminalized or experienced harm and violence, or if your people created or worked within the systems, organizations, and frameworks outlined here, or both. What stories have been carried through your lines of kinship? What stories have not? What futures are possible? 

Use this timeline to support your resistance. The work and vision of the Healing Histories Project is deeply aligned with Healing Justice (HJ). HJ is a political strategy conceived in 2005 and launched in 2006 by the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective (aka Kindred Collective). Kindred Collective is a southern-rooted, Black feminist-led, multi-racial, intergenerational network of health and healing practitioners, birth workers, social workers, and organizers seeking to intervene on and respond to generational trauma and systemic oppression by building community and survivor-led responses to sustain our emotional, physical, spiritual, psychic, and environmental well-being. Kindred Collective is grounded in the southeastern region of the United States and their strategies come out of the traditions of that region. Critical to Healing Justice is valuing the cultural, political, and spiritual traditions of where we live, and our lived experiences of the places we are working and building deeply shapes our resiliency and healing strategies. Much like Kindred Collective, we believe our collective healing and safety strategies are deeply impacted by the environments that shape us, and the lineages that guide us.

As organizers and curators of this timeline, we feel it is important for anyone who engages with the timeline to reflect on their experiences based on their geography  and the conditions of their communities. What are the conditions of where you live? How have those conditions impacted what you are experiencing individually, communally and institutionally? Who can you invite, or ask permission from, to explore what it will mean to transform these conditions?

Spend some time going deeper with the material on the timeline. Notice your thoughts, and  sensations that come up in your body. What memories and emotions are evoked? Are there  insights that move you?

  • What does it feel like to learn what you didn’t know previously when you look through this timeline? Why do you think you didn’t know these things? Were you taught, directly or indirectly, that some people “deserved” care, or wellness, or justice and other people did not?
  • What are some of the institutional systems that you see operating on our collective bodies and experiences? How do we experience, or not experience, those same systems in our own lives, or the lives of our communities’?
  • How do you see legacies of racial capitalism, ableism, environmental racism, and the carceral system sabotage collective care and wellness repeatedly in this timeline? Where do you see resistance?
  • Knowing what you know now from these timelines, what do you imagine for our futures? What will we need to reground our collective respect, and dignity, for the care and survival of our communities? 

For people working within healthcare institutions including clinics, hospitals, and acute care settings: We see you. We know how many of you are working to uphold the dignity and respect of the people you work with, to change policies and procedures so that they are rooted in relationship and autonomy, and to ask ethical questions about how research and care are developed and practiced. We hear stories of isolation and struggle from many of you, and stories of intervention and change from others. The questions we invite for those working within structural care systems include: what is your role within this system? Which histories here have shaped your role, your position, your sector, your field? Are these histories new to you? Who benefits from medical schools and medical cultures ignoring these histories? Which relationships are available to you for sharing experiences and strategy? Can you use this timeline to build relationships and examine what has shaped your position, and field, as a way to build trust and inspire strategy, so that you feel less isolated?