Photo Essay: The Summer of Black Healing

by Reagan Jackson and Zorn Taylor

On Juneteenth Mary Williams and I organized a Blackout at the CHOP. The purpose was to refocus the spirit of the Black Lives Matter protest taking place there to not only memorialize and fight for justice for the dead but to prioritize the health and wellbeing of living Black people.

From this experience, Blackout Healing was created. We are forming a collective of Black creatives, facilitators, and healing practitioners who will be hosting pop up events in person and digitally to provide an opportunity for Black people to grieve, process, release, find joy, and heal. The following photo essay courtesy of Zorn Taylor captures the second Blackout Healing which took place at Judkins Park on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Rocky Lester performed the grief ritual. Mark Lily hosted an Orisha dance class. Jordan Chaney hosted an open mic. Mary and I curated an ofrenda mural for Black trans futures. DJ Topspin provided the music. Participants ate popsicles, blew bubbles, double dutched, made flower crowns, danced for our ancestors, screamed out our rage, cried, laughed, and experienced a necessary healing.

The next Blackout Healing will take place at Coyote Central on Sunday, July 12 from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. All of these events are free and open to anyone who identifies as Black. Allies are encouraged to support by donating.

Here is the lineup for July 12:

10:00 a.m. Yoga — Atlee Treasure

11:00 a.m.  Art with Aramis Hamer

Noon  Lunch catered by Mulu Abate

1:30 p.m. Youth-led peace Circle Centering Black Women — Adanech and Lewam

3:00 p.m. Writer’s Workshop/grief ritual — Anastacia Renee

4:30 p.m. Plant allies for resilience and resistance — Shalagh Brown

6:00 p.m. Dance party — DJ. Topspin

8:00 p.m. Last Song and Clean Up

Photographer — Michael Maine

We will be distributing T.I.N.A.S kits. T.I.N.A.S stands for “This Is Not A Solution.” They are self-defense kits created by Ebo Barton to help Black trans folk protect themselves. The genocide on Black bodies has disproprotionately impacted our trans community and we want to invest in their safety and wellbeing. We will prioritize providing these kits for trans-identified folk, but they will be available for any Black-identified person in need.

Black-Identified Mental Health and Wellness Professionals:

Mary is putting together a resource page for the Blackout Healing website to connect Black folks with these practitioners. If you would like to be included, please email us at You are also welcome to come and table at lunch time and introduce yourself directly to the community.

Black-Identified Vendors:

Vendors are welcome to attend. We do not charge a booth rate.

Stay informed by checking out the Blackout Healing website.

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Rocky Lester: Healer and Founder of One Race, One Humanity, led a grief ritual at the Blackout June 26. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Mary Williams: Co-organizer of Blackout Healing (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Reagan Jackson: Co-organizer of Blackout Healing and Program Director of Young Women Empowered. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Tayah Carlisle (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Photo: Zorn Taylor
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Rocky painting the first image on our community ofrenda for Black Trans futures. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Mary Williams with sister Sarah Freeman and niece Taylor Freeman. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Zorn Taylor and flower crown. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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(Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Photo: Zorn Taylor
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Painting the community ofrenda for Black Trans futures. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Socially distant Orisha dance class with Mark Lily. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Mark Lily. (Photo: Zorn Taylor)
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Photo: Zorn Taylor