Self-care as Liberation work: A Black Feminist/Womanist Approach


Thursday, October 10, 2019


5:00 pm


Rockefeller Hall 200-Auditorium

Ella Ofori - Self-care as Liberation work: A Black Feminist/Womanist Approach to Preservation While Doing the Work in Oppressive Systems

It can be very challenging for folks to take care of themselves while engaged in all manners of liberation work (organizing, advocacy, teaching, etc) when they are involved in the systems structured to do the complete opposite – dissuade folks from engaging in self-care. I will discuss common barriers in the work, such as respectability and cultural/behavioral norms within academia and grassroots and nonprofit organizing, that prevents folks from having the space to identify and address needs, wants, desires, boundaries, and capacity. I will be drawing on experiences – personal, of clients, peers, family, and community- to share a framework grounded in Black Feminism/Womanism that has helped to shift folks from a performative, individualistic, and surface understanding of self-care to a more collectivistic, holistic, nurturing, and personal approach to preservation and freedom. Lastly, I will talk about how to create practices and rituals that centers our health and well-being in ways that reflect and are in alignment with our collective and interdependent freedom work.

Ella Ofori: "I am a Black, African, non-binary, and queer person, an East Coast transplant, and from a working class background. I graduated from Temple University with a Masters in Public Health and from California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, with a MA in Counseling Psychology, with a focus in Community Mental Health. I utilize relational, narrative, and structural family therapy methodologies. My practice is also strongly informed by black psychology, liberation psychology, and restorative justice practices. I have training in transpersonal and medical hypnotherapy. I have experience in community health education and program development and management.
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, working in collaboration with Claudius Johnson, LCSW, at Sankofa Holistic Counseling Services. Sankofa Holistic Counseling Services is an Oakland-based mental health practice with a focus on African American health and well-being."

Sponsored by the Political Science Department. Co-sponsors include The Counseling Center, Sociology, and Political Science

Taneisha Means

Political Science Department