Current Leader

Julian L. Watkins

Julian L. Watkins
Location: New York, New York Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Arts in Health and Healing, Behavioral and Mental Health, Community/Civic Engagement, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Food Systems and Nutrition, Health Care Access, Immigrants and Refugees, LGBTQ+ Health, Public Policy, Public, Population and Community Health, Racial Justice, Sexual Health, Social Sector/Non-Profit, Violence and Trauma Populations Served: Adolescents (12-20 years), Adults (21-64 years), African-American/Black, Asian/Asian American, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Drug/Alcohol/Tobacco Users, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Immigrants and Refugees, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, Men's Health, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), Native/Tribal/Indigenous People, People Living with HIV/AIDS, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories, Southwest Asian and/or North African (SWANA), Urban Communities, Women's Health
City Medical Specialist
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Watkins is a public health professional and clinician deeply concerned about the mass trauma inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He firmly believes that communities will need new and creative pathways to healing to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also believes that to truly make ourselves whole, we must also address the age-old crisis of white supremacist delusion and systemic racism in meaningful ways.

He created The People’s Project as part of an artist residency with Beverly’s, a Lower Manhattan art gallery and event space. The People’s Project is a collaborative multimedia project and creative vehicle to bring community voices from the margins to the center of future building and recovery efforts. Dr. Watkins’ mission is to help create a new culture that challenges narratives that seek to pathologize marginalized communities and replace them with considered and careful discourse to build community, raise consciousness, and promote nonmarket values such as sacrifice, resource sharing, caring, justice, healing, restoration, and love.

After all, pandemics have a tendency to reveal who is valued most in society; this project stands in direct opposition to our market-obsessed capitalist society. People are only as healthy as their community. By investing time and resources directly in the community, the project is a long-term investment in the community’s overall health and a testament to the resilience, creativity, and beauty that existed and continues to thrive across New York City during the darkest of times.


Dr. Watkins identifies as a queer multi-ethnic Black intellectual and healer. He’s at once a multigenerational North American and the son of an immigrant, with roots in Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Watkins finds strength in these multiple marginalized identities and brings an intersectional world view, rich diasporic culture, and healing tradition to his work. A student of the Black Liberation movement and Black Feminist struggle, he believes radical self-love is essential to build a Culture of Health and heal communities.His choice to move through the world with an ethos of love is an act of resistance in a culture so loveless.





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