Home Our Work Radical Self-Care: A primer for advocacy organizations

Radical Self-Care: A primer for advocacy organizations

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Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

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Ma'kai Bryant, Cornelius Frederick, Sean Monterossa...as youth justice advocates, our bodies and brains house the injustices inflicted on youth everyday. Listening to others’ experiences can result in vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue, conditions common for those working in helping professions and constantly exposed to others’ distress. Vicarious trauma may trigger feelings of being tense or “on guard”, potentially damaging physical and mental health. Add to this that company cultures are commonly rooted in capitalist ideologies that prioritize work outputs over employee well-being, and advocates are fast-tracked for burnout. For activists of color, these stressors are amplified and compounded by the toll of racism and racial injustices that pervade everyday life and undergird legal systems.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is committed to fostering a culture of wellbeing, which requires unpacking internalized capitalism and white supremacy to build organizations rooted in healing. While much of the conversation around self-care centers on personal practices and coping skills, NJJN is focused on steps organizations can take to create cultures that support their employees as they seek to transform systems. A key aspect of making this shift is learning how white supremacy culture directly undermines self-care and assessing organizational self-care practices within the Network to ensure advocates are supported in caring for their health
and wellbeing.

In this 2-page primer, we outline the context of understanding self-care as a radical act, with an emphasis on transforming work culture to support the self-care of advocates, particularly advocates of color.

>>>Download and share the primer today!

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