Jackie Lawrence

Jackie Lawrence
Location: Richmond, Virginia Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Behavioral and Mental Health, Community/Civic Engagement, Racial Justice, Violence and Trauma Populations Served: African-American/Black, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Children and Families, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities, Victims of Crime, Young Children (0-5 years)
Director of Health Equity
Richmond Henrico Health District

Imagine a world where culturally-appropriate grassroots organizing efforts are fully funded. Imagine they effortlessly connect residents toward programming and policy change that hold space for healthy ways of healing and halt cycles of trauma. This world can exist however currently policies and mistrust stand in the way. Understand that collective trauma in communities of color is a result of historical and contemporary systemic racism known as cultural assaults. These blows to the culture are breeding grounds for generational harm. Jackie has launched the Healing Us initiative, which has so far trained 8 directly impacted community members who have all launched trauma prevention/intervention programs in their communities. The initiative has also raised money to fund regular healing circles for community members who have lost loved ones due to gun violence. To supplement Healing Us, Jackie has led the development of the community led Trauma Healing Response Network coordinated by the Richmond Henrico Health District which will fund residents and grassroots organizations trained to be first responders to community violence.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: City Healers: Resident-led Resilience to Stop Redlining & Gentrification in Richmond, Virginia
The “City Healers: Resident-lLed Resilience” initiative based in Richmond, Virginia, works to heal the socioemotional wounds of oppression (conflict, distrust) in communities of color inflicted by cultural assaults like redlining, mass eviction, and gentrification. It does so by working alongside residents and grassroots organizations to connect families to a village of healing companions; advancing resident skills, education, and power to create; and implementing resident-crafted interventions that prevent and respond to resident-identified trauma in their own community or systemic level. As a result of these efforts, families experience the freedom of self-expression, love, peace, joy, trust, and connectedness more often. Committed partners in this work are Richmond Association of Black Social Workers, Drums No Guns Foundation, Richmond Peace Team, Community Unity In Action, the Six Points Innovation Center, and Legal Aid Justice Center. Ideal partners are Richmond City Health District and the Tutelage Group.

Jackie Lawrence is a social work practitioner with a BSW and MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University and Director of Health Equity at the Richmond Health District. Tired of experiencing the Black community’s mental wellness in crises, she advocates for redistribution of funds and programming that trains residents/grassroots organizations to be leaders in responding to trauma in their own community.