who we are
Austin Health Commons (AHC) is a nonprofit organization that cultivates root cause community healing (in part) through a process called Truth, Racial Healing, Transformation developed by Dr. Gail Christopher.
Austin Health Commons shifts ownership of health back to communities and those of us who live in our communities. Our model was borrowed from the Food Commons and Commons Health, developed by Jamie Harvie.
AHC will own Karisha Community’s prototype center in Central East Austin and will serve as a steward of Conscious Health Care, our new paradigm for health and healing.
We break down barriers
Part of our mission is to promote racial healing throughout our city. In racial healing, we break down the barriers that separate and divide us. We learn to look for commonalities that bring us together as human beings.
Austin Health Commons
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
What is Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation is a format developed byDr. Gail Christopherover 10 years while she served as Vice President for Policy and Senior Advisor for the Kellogg Foundation. In the Racial Healing Circle, you will meet new people, listen deeply, share your truths, and give affirming responses. You can learn more at healourcommunities.org.
What will we do in the Circle?
During a Racial Healing Circle, trained Racial Healing Facilitators will guide participants through introductory exercises which lead up to a deeper sharing in a safe space. Participants are invited to share their truths and heart stories, and in doing so, to develop a deeper understanding of others who may be perceived as different. Participants will have the opportunity to share a story and hear someone else’s story in dyads with a partner, and then in the circle as a group. Participants are then invited to respond to the stories they heard and affirm each others’ experiences, which leads to rich discussion and dialogue.
Will this be a discussion about race?
The Racial Healing Circle is an opportunity for people to come together and form deep connections across social differences such as race/ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, and class. Race is a divisive and artificial social construct. Therefore, to heal from racism, we believe it is necessary to face the truths of this falsely constructed hierarchy in human value, in part by connecting deeply on our shared humanity. Leading with race in social change work and analysis of systemic inequities is critical. Embodying a new reality of a shared humanity is just as critical to break patterns of our past and create a new reality, living in Conscious Community.
Is focusing on our shared humanity the same as being color blind?
No. In discussions about race, the term color-blind means that someone “doesn’t see color” or believes that people of color are no longer affected by race and racism. To say this is to “create a society that denies negative racial experiences, rejects cultural heritage, and invalidates unique perspectives.” Austin Health Commons believes that to focus on our shared humanity means that we are able to both celebrate and acknowledge our differences and acknowledge that beneath it all, we are also all human and worthy of love, respect, and basic human rights.
How does the TRHT Circle heal?
Humans are innately wired for connection, and connecting with others in a supportive and safe way is healing. When we connect deeply with another human being, this automatically lowers the stress hormone, cortisol, and raises the bonding-joy hormone, oxytocin, in the brain. Thus, we actually leave the Circle with less stress than when we walked in; a true healing experience.
Do I have to share a story?
Sharing is always by invitation. If you do not feel ready to share your story with the group, we will absolutely honor that. That said, we believe that each person has a valuable story that others in the group can learn from. Sharing your story allows you to receive the affirming comments from the group and fully experience the healing that comes thereafter.
About Austin Health Commons
Formed in 2016 to serve as a steward of Conscious Health and Care, Austin Health Commons is a 501c3 non-profit community organization working to build a new way for our community to achieve health through community ownership of health and health care; root cause community healing; and access to holistic health care for all.