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The Power of Somatics for Racial Justice

22 February 2023
7:00 pm
- 9:00 pm GMT

About the event

Changemakers, communities, all people invested in racial justice: explore with us how somatics can help us find new ways to respond effectively to racism, with discussion and insight from visionary racial justice organisers and somatics practitioners. How can somatics be used to overturn the deep racism that is killing us in health, education, housing, environment, public services and infrastructures?

‘The Power of Somatics for Racial Justice’ with Nkem Ndefo, Temi Mwale, Melz Owusu and HJL’s Rebekah Delsol & Alex Augustin is part of our Healing Trauma and Social Justice series looking into the potential of somatics.

As racism causes people of the global majority* to face disproportionate vulnerability and feel the brunt of many existing and emerging crises, right now it’s crucial we build a collective embodied practice that reckons with the harm, violence and ongoing re-injury of racism, and strengthens the fight for racial justice.

Join us on Wednesday 22 February for this session focusing on Somatics for Racial Justice. Attendees will explore:

  • Unpacking somatics in the context of racial justice and racial trauma
  • The important help and development somatics offers for racial justice organising
  • Resources on incorporating somatics and carrying these practices forward

Trauma reduces agency and the ability to direct one’s life. We believe that connecting somatics and justice is a political strategy, to move marginalised groups towards having the resilience to equitably & sustainably participate in transforming our systems. Somatics is part of addressing the weight of ongoing struggle that wears on our bodies from racism, building resilience needed to rededicate ourselves every day to the sustained fight for racial justice.

While in recent times healing has been depoliticised and individualised, we will explore how somatics, from the individual to the collective body, can be applied to climate, racial, and social justice movements. How the work of dismantling oppressive systems involves transforming patterns, culture and community practices through engaging the body; and the techniques we need to learn as responses to trauma caused by social and political structures. We need to honour the lineage of these practices, reconnecting to and remembering ancestral and non-eurocentric ways of connecting to our bodies that help us access health, dignity and wholeness, whilst unlearning and overturning the white wellness industrial complex.

With our #RehearsingFreedoms programme, we’re building towards a complete reimagining of our health systems. We want to cultivate this movement of exploration, building and teaching at the intersection of somatics and justice. This 3-part series is intended to engage and build a community in the UK, including any and everyone who may be involved in bringing about change. The power of this work grows with the presence of every participant, towards sustainable and embodied processes for personal and social transformation.

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series, watch Part 1 on somatics and collective transformation here. Part 3 of this series will explore the application of somatics to disability justice. More information TBC, subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated.


These sessions will be online with closed captioning available. If there are any access needs you’d like us to consider, please email info@healingjusticeldn.org.

For anyone who can’t make it on the day, we will aim to make a subtitled recording available and will let people know once this is out.


About the Speakers

Nkem Ndefo (she/her) is the founder and president of Lumos Transforms and creator of The Resilience Toolkit, a model that promotes embodied self-awareness and self-regulation in an ecologically sensitive framework and social justice context. Licensed as a nurse midwife, Nkem also has extensive post-graduate training in complementary health modalities and emotional therapies. She brings an abundance of experience as a clinician, educator, consultant, and community strategist to innovative programs that address stress and trauma and build resilience for individuals, organizations, and communities across sectors, both in her home country (USA) and internationally. Nkem is particularly interested in working alongside people most impacted by violence and marginalization.


Temi Mwale (she/her) is a racial justice campaigner who is committed to dismantling the prison-industrial complex and building approaches to address conflict and harm that prioritise healing and centre empowerment. She is the founder of The 4Front Project, a member-led youth organisation that exists to serve young people who have experienced trauma, violence and racial injustice, by fighting for their rights, supporting them to heal, and empowering them to build communities where they are nurtured, protected and respected.


Melz Owusu (they/ them) is a queer, transmasculine and non-binary activist, scholar, consultant and spiritualist. They are the Founder of the Free Black University (@freeblackuni) and a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge. They have organised in a number of spaces such as Black Lives Matter UK, decolonising education and trans visibility. Their work explores decolonisation, the radical Black imagination and building transformative worlds. Melz has explored the topic of decolonisation with hundreds of audiences across the world and has also tackled the topic on the popular TEDx platform. Their passion is research, and they are currently undertaking a PhD exploring visions for collective liberation. Melz always endeavours to take this radical, decolonial, Black feminist analysis forward in all aspects of their life and work.


Rebekah Delsol (she/her) is HJL’s Director of Strategy. She has worked for twenty years on anti-discrimination and racial justice issues, focused on building community and civil society capacity to challenge racial profiling and changing structures and cultures in police institutions globally. Rebekah managed the Open Society Justice Initiatives’ Fair and Effective Policing (FEP) project, working to improve police relations with diverse communities through dialogue, research, litigation and advocacy.

Rebekah is founding member and trustee of the charity StopWatch, a coalition that uses research and action to promote fair and accountable policing. Rebekah holds a PhD from the University of Warwick based on a comparative study exploring institutional racism in stop and search practices in the UK and US. She has written and presented widely on stop and search, racism, equality and policing and most recently co-written and edited, Stop and Search: The Anatomy of a Police Power (Palgrave, 2015), The Colour of Injustice: ‘Race,’ Drugs and Law Enforcement in England and Wales (StopWatch, 2018) and Challenging Ethnic Profiling in Europe: A Guide for Campaigners and Organizers (OSF, 2021).


Alex Augustin (he/him) is a member of the core team at Healing Justice Ldn, where he works on HJL’s comms and the Reimagining Masculinities programme. Through his experiences of interdependence and struggle growing up in Brent, NW London, he has always had an awareness of injustice and inequity. Alex writes and has held discussions about the psychological and emotional impact of structural harm in ‘the ends’ and was part of the creative team behind Bayo, a mental health hub for Black communities, which launched in October 2021 in partnership with Mind, Best Beginnings, Ubele Initiative and Young Minds. During his time working at the Ubele Initiative, he got insight into a range of community and movement work.





*people of the global majority: coined by Rosemary M. Campbell-Stephens is inclusive of non-white folk around the world. It disrupts the centring and power of whiteness to categorise people, and moves the conversation away from non-white people’s disadvantages, towards their ‘added value’ and power as the majority of the world’s population. (R. Campbell-Stephens, 2020)