Healing Amidst Hurt
April 9 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm$30
As our country continues to grapple with double standards and systemic racism since its inception, we recognize the pain that the Chauvin trial can cause. Join us for a safe space for healing with Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya.
Calling psychologist Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya prominent understates the case. Her name, starting with the title denoting her Ph.D., is followed by a small alphabet. As well, among her vast accomplishments, she founded and is executive director of African American Child Wellness Institute, a children’s mental health agency dedicated to the research, delivery and coordination of comprehensive wellness strategies for children of African descent.
Garrett-Akinsanya also serves as the president of Brakins Consulting and Psychological Services, which has the mission of “providing excellent, culturally competent mental health and consultation services that meet the needs of children, adults, families and organizations.”
She certainly is qualified to comment on the importance of Black women making a difference in today’s society. “Women have been oppressed and, of all people, when women got the vote, Black women didn’t. So, our empowerment and sense of agency, especially in this country, is really behind that of all groups.
“Even within our group, we’re often discriminated [against] by gender because of male preference. Even Black men have more privilege. We have a lot stacked up against us. [But] we are the stuff.” Not exactly a clinical term, but it states the case. What she casually calls, with her bent for being off-the-cuff, a Dr. B-ism.
She agrees with the sentiment that it’s vital for women to make difference, if for no other reason than the fact that they can. It doesn’t make sense for them not be allowed to. In fact, when women are obstructed from changing how things are done, when they can’t contribute from the vantage point of women’s sensibilities, they aren’t the only ones who lose. Men, by denying women, shortchange themselves and don’t realize it.
“That’s right. To be so resilient and so nurturing and so successful, we’re all that.” Another not-quite-clinical reference. For all the difference Garrett-Akinsanya in fact makes, for all she has done professionally — with a curricula vitae of some 17 pages — informality is Dr. B’s style.
It is refreshing to enjoy someone to whom prestigious standing does not mean being self-important to the point of terminal stuffiness. After all, a mere partial listing of her credits includes president of the Minnesota Psychological Association, which under her leadership garnered the American Psychological Association’s Diversity Leadership Award and the first board-certified psychologist in Minnesota to be named a Fellow/Diplomat in African Centered/Black Psychology by the National Association of Black Psychologists.
She’s also published, among other titles, “Stress Management” in The Women’s Handbook on Mental Health (Beacon Press), “The Sociocultural Abuse of Power” in The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination (Praeger Press, Inc.), and “Making Spaces for Ourselves” in Women and Leadership: Transforming Visions and Diverse Voices (Blackwell Publishing).
She’s most proud of her innovative work with two Afrocentric parenting programs: Murua Moms: A Pre-Meditated Motherhood Bootcamp, a Prenatal Program for Pregnant and Parenting Women of African Descent, and Project Murua: A Pre-Meditated Parenting Boot Camp. Her Murua model is renowned in the Twin Cities and nationally as a means of violence reduction and wellness promotion among African American low-income, homeless families with female heads of households. Indeed, quite a difference to make.