In the United States, young men of color are among the most likely people to be harmed by violence. They are among the least likely to receive healing support when they are hurt. Such a disparity results from many factors, including media-fed perceptions of them as overaggressive, poor access to services, and the broadly accepted normalization of the violence they suffer. HealingWorks Learning Collaborative addresses the compelling needs of these young survivors by delivering tools, collaboration, and community-building support to the people and organizations that serve them.
Although conventional victim-service agencies serve small numbers of young men of color, such services are more likely to exist in less-traditional settings. These include community programs, churches, schools, and private homes, where people have chosen to address trauma and victimization in the context of other services. Such programs are often effective. They are also overburdened, undervalued, and severely under-resourced. At the same time, programs engaged more formally in providing victim services, while better resourced, often lack the training and framework to offer viable services to young male survivors of color. HealingWorks helps address such disparities in the victim service field, supporting organizations with varying needs.
In conjunction with the Vera Institute’s Underserved Resource Center, HealingWorks leads a Men of Color Expert Working Group, a gathering of national experts who are expanding our knowledge and understanding about men of color survivors of violence as a historically underserved population. The working group will conduct informational interviews and facilitate listening sessions to gain knowledge that informs best practices and empowers organizations that provide victim services.
Uniting the individuals and organizations that do this critical work, the HealingWorks community is helping to build a cohesive, durable field. We provide mechanisms to share and explore practices, increase financial resources, technical assistance and training, and elevate the leadership of those who have paved the way. Because effective practice doesn’t happen in isolation, HealingWorks promotes practices that take place in a community context, addressing the essential roles of women, elders, and other community members to bring about healing. Together, the HealingWorks collaborative is building a field to meet the needs of young men of color survivors and their broader communities.