Movement Matters began offering Community Healing and Action Circles (CHACs) in the summer of 2020 with the recognition that community members leading campaigns to support and create change are lacking spaces to heal and grow together.
Our first series of CHACs was developed for laid-off restaurant workers who continue to organize themselves as they fight for the rights of their families and communities. These community leaders asked for a space to mourn the current moment, to heal and deepen their resilience, to care for themselves and their bodies given their limited resources and access to nature, and to build their public speaking skills as community leaders at the forefront.
We created spaces of radical joy, reflection, and trust building by using culture, expressive arts (including dance, movement and theater), breath work, self-massage, medicinal plants, ritual, story creation and story telling to center healing, self-care/self-regulation, resiliency, and the decolonizing of voice, microphones, and 'public speaking' in its entirety.
Our current series includes:
CHAC 1 & 2: Breath, Movement, & Voice
CHAC 3 & 4: Movement, Resilience, & Story Creation
CHAC 5 & 6: Our Healing Traditions & Self Care
The Community Healing and Action Circles are intentionally structured to build resilience within a community context. Participants are not just isolated individuals, but leaders of change efforts who are deeply connected to their constituencies. We mindfully cultivate each session to meet the emerging needs of the work, campaigns, and the broader membership of participants, ensuring that healing and capacity building are being integrated into the larger organizing community.
We partnered with the DC Urban Sustainability Administration and Washington Parks & People, and have been holding these live, COVID safe, physically-distanced sessions at the Columbia Heights Green garden. We thank the Junte Comunitario Virtual and its community leaders in Puerto Rico for providing us with the safest strategies for in-person sessions during COVID times. We have moved the sessions online for the winter.
The CHACs are being developed in conjunction with our Learning and Action Circles and our Dismantling Anti-Blackness Among People of Color work, both of which are oriented toward organizers and professional staff.
For more information on our Community Healing and Action Circles, connect with us.
Movement Matters is based in Washington, DC.
We work regionally with various communities and with national partners.
We heard clearly from our alumni that there is a strong need for anti-oppression spaces for organizers, popular educators, and community leaders in the DC region to continue building our skills and apply what we learn on an ongoing basis.
The lack of staffing capacity at our change organizations often leaves us overwhelmed and barely able to keep up with immediate demands in front of us, with no ability to reflect and improve upon our work. That is simply unsustainable, especially now.
In response, we launched the Movement Matters Learning and Action Circles (LACs). We envision these spaces as a shared workshop where each participant can bring their ongoing projects and have the opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas with peers, access resources, get support in planning and implementation, and deepen their own skills. The sessions are grounded in Movement Matters’ Organizing Framework of: Relationship, Constituency, and Power Building. The LAC’s cement organizers’ capacities and skills in these areas and continue the learning from our Community Organizing and Popular Education Institute and Advanced Training Series.
All Learning and Action Circles (LACs) are free of charge and only open to our training or technical assistance alumni. The LACs take place the second Tuesday of every month from 10AM - 12PM.
To the best of our abilities, we provide our alumni with tailored support including preparing for these sessions so that they can get the most out of our time together, and apply the learning thoughtfully and successfully to their work.