The Philly Black Healers Collective (PBHC) believes that Black and Brown people are powerful and possess all that is needed to heal themselves; the collective creates a platform for that healing to happen. Diverse spiritual and healing-oriented services are made easily accessible to communities and individuals that have experienced or continue to experience trauma. Services focus on culturally-centered and culturally-relevant healing and wellness practices. The PBHC believes that a cooperative model of business best reflects their spiritual and cultural values and allows them to be accountable to each other for continuing a journey of healing and wellness.
PBHC is currently nine members: Golden Ana Ré, Hakim Pitts, Mari Morales-Williams, Shonettia Monique, Kenya Ramey, Ariesha Geier, Jamila Wilson, Jazmyn Burton, and Darasia Selby-Adebisi.
The Philly Black Healers Collective Study Circle
PBHC has had two study circle meetings so far. As healers, the group decided that it will open each study circle meeting with a centering/meditative practice and close with an affirmation/intention. In their second session, they watched Own the Change, a 22 minute film about worker co-ops, and learned about some of the challenges that come with starting and maintaining a worker co-op as well as that building a running a business democratically can look different ways.
Group members also call on and welcome the experiences and wisdom of individuals. For example, when discussing how they’ll share responsibility and tasks, a member suggested that they use the Strength Finders tool for assessing leadership styles and strengths in the group. Using this tool could help them develop systems of shared leadership that will be more effective and appropriately match participants needs/strengths.
Jamila Medley, PACA staff point person to PBHC, caught up with study circle participant Jazmyn Burton to explore what’s developing for her as a part of the study cirlce so far.
Jamila: Why did you want to join a study circle about co-ops?
Jazmyn: This year, I started developing the platform for a wellness studio that will offer alternative methods of healing to communities of color. In trying to set up a business structure, the idea of how to properly compensate healers for their work became a strong point of focus. This study circle opened up the opportunity for me to get my basic questions about worker co-ops, consumer co-ops, and producer co-ops answered while building community with other Philadelphia-based healers.
Jamila: What have you learned about co-ops so far?
Jazmyn: I didn’t know the history of African Americans cooperative business models until Jamila introduced us to Collective Courage. It makes sense that people of color would thrive through creating business structures that help share and distribute wealth.
Jamila: Your group has a trip to Brooklyn coming up. What questions do you have for the business(es) you’ll be visiting? What do you hope to take away from the trip?
Jazmyn: It’s one thing to sell goods and services, but how do you offer spirituality as a commodity? Healing circles for people of color seem to be growing in popularity. How do we reach our intended communities without watering down our individual beliefs for the market place? I’m also really interested in how Harriet’s Apothecary was founded and how they organize themselves.