Since at least the 1830s, Black feminists in the US have spoken of how oppression harms the spirit and have also expressed the need for Black people to respect themselves in the face of anti-Black racism (Guy-Sheftall, 1995). The recognition that oppression negatively impacts well-being continues today. Research in community health and psychology has demonstrated how Black Americans, Native Americans, and Latinx people have been victims of mass incarceration, state-funded and state-sanctioned violence, and systemic discrimination in schools, workplaces, healthcare, and housing. Due to these conditions, racial and ethnic minorities in the US suffer disproportionately from mental and physical illnesses linked with stress, pollution, and trauma. Intersectionality has been recognized as a vital analytical tool in research, helping scholars, managers, educators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, and more understand the complexities of health risks and healthcare responses; of diversity and inclusion in schools, workplaces, and communities; and of inequalities in every area of social science. At the same time, intersectional activists have insisted on a holistic view of social change that forms the basis of what Reverend angel Kyodo williams calls “transcendent movements” (williams & Owens, 2016, p. 201). The work of well-being, on individual and community levels, has been part of resistance against oppression, exploitation, and prejudice which harm the mind, body, and spirit of those on all sides of oppressive power dynamics. As Ruth King (2018) notes, “racism is a heart disease, and it’s curable!” (p. 9). This essay explores past and present intersectional feminist activism that addresses well-being and the tools to achieve well-being as political strategy. It connects contemporary movements like Black Lives Matter, transformative justice, and mutual aid with a history of work by womanists, U.S. third world feminists, intersectional feminists, and LGBTQIA people of color who have recognized that self-care and community-care are political work and that the work of diversity, inclusion, and well-being is one and the same. This knowledge emphasizes the importance of self-care and community-care in politics, public health, education, and other social change work.
Doetsch-Kidder, Sharon and Harris, Kalia
"Healing Justice as Intersectional Feminist Praxis: Well-being Practices for Inclusion and Liberation,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss1/4