On Trayvon Martin and Using Nutritional Healing for Our Racism Induced Illnesses and Pain

The San Francisco Greens Workshop that Dianna is referring to can be seen here

Dianna’s letter is all to real for many of us. In addition to having received her letter, for many of non-white minorities in the USA, the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial left us deeply troubled, traumatized, and angry. It was a direct reminder that racist narratives about Black people– particularly young Black males– seem to greatly influence many non-Black people’s understanding of whose lives are of value, and whose lives are not. It’s so deeply part of the USA’s moral fabric, I am convinced that most people hold these beliefs about Black people to be true, whether it is conscious or unconscious. As a mother to a 4 year old boy of African descent and during this past week, I have had to curb my own fears and anxieties about what the future in the USA holds for him, my daughter, and other young children in this country who do not “pass as white.”

Racism-induced stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems, etc., are all too real for many of us, including myself. This past week, I had to be diligent about taking care of my emotional distress about the meaning of the George Zimmerman verdict. I reached for foods and herbs that can help the body and mind not become depleted during times of stress. For example, when I want to reach for a pint of vegan ice cream before going to bed, I tell myself, “If you’re already having insomnia problems trying to deal with the verdict and thinking about Sun (my son’s name), how is a food packed with SUGAR going to help you sleep or calm down?” I must lovingly remind myself to make my lemon balm tea and skullcap tea. They are nurturing and will help me continue with my anti-racism and decolonial work. After all, it’s hard to do much of anything when you cannot sleep.

In light of Dianna’s letter to me, and the trauma and stress that the Zimmerman verdict has caused for tens of thousands of people, I have decided to post again that I am offering a comprehensive webinar that more deeply addresses nutritional recipes (and other anti racism/decolonizing ‘health’ regiments) that can be part of self-care and empowerment for people whose health have been greatly affected by racism-induced trauma(s). I will offer suggestion for:

    • Alleviating anxiety and stress induced insomnia with 4 simple herbal teas and remedies

    • Using this one aromatic popular tea to reduce hypertension

    • Making this special dairy-free whole foods ice cream in place of less nutritionally healthy ‘junk’ comfort ice cream treats during stressful times.


    August 18, 2013

    10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)


    90 minutes (approximately)

    Registration: You can Register by clicking here.

    Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free Anymeeting.com (my webinars are hosted through Anymeeting.com so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it ,you can join the webinar with a password via a free Anymeeting.com account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to hear me present while viewing Powerpoint slides. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. Lecture will be 60 minutes long followed by a 30 minute Q and A.

    About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

    Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

    If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. When Sistah Vegan becomes a well supported non-profit, I hope to offer a diversity of educational material (webinars, workshops, books, articles) that guide people through ways to raise pre-school aged children on a fun and healthy plant-based diet.  If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.


    Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend

    6 thoughts on “On Trayvon Martin and Using Nutritional Healing for Our Racism Induced Illnesses and Pain

    1. While it’s correct to link the Zimmerman verdict to racism, speciesm has also reared its ugly head. In comparing the two-year sentence of Michael Vick to the non-sentence that George Zimmerman received, Ben Jealous of the NAACP has, unfortunately, made the wrong analogy. Consider that if Michael Vick had done to a human what he did to dogs, Vick would not be free now. Outside of that celebrity case, there is little justice for animals. If there were, then every operator of a factory farm and slaughterhouse would be tried and convicted for grave deeds. We have to get beyond the human justice versus animal justice mentality. Justice is not a zero-sum proposition.

      1. I am actually wondering how your reply connects to what I talk about in this post. As I didn’t refer to NAACP or vick at all, so am just curious about that.

        1. While your post didn’t mention Michael Vick or the NAACP, it was about racism and Trayvon Martin. Those comments brought to mind what Ben Jealous of the NAACP said about racism and Trayvon Martin. Referring to Michael Vick’s two year prison sentence for animal abuse, Mr. Jealous seemed to say that animal abusers get more justice than killers of black people. My point was that comparing animal justice to people justice is a false analogy. If Michael Vick had done to people what he did to animals, he would not be free now. My comment was about the connection between speciesm and racism (which is why I decided to follow your blog). And, while you didn’t mention speciesm or Michael Vick or the NAACP in your post, they’re all part of the national conversation we’re having about Trayvon Martin.

    2. Dr. Harper. Thank you for responding to this stressful time with remedies based in healthy self care and nutrition that will assist us in staying resilient. My heart aches that after all this time we are still dealing with the pains of racial hatred. However, I am strengthened by all the generations that have made it past these barriers and have created full, healthy lives and are thriving. I think that perhaps enduring racial hatred is a test, by a highter power. A test in character development and true inner higher personal empowerment. In my most optimistic mind, we eventually live in a society where it does not exist. Yet, in my practical mind, as this hatred still exists, and we reach out and pull the newest generation through this passage, we succeed. And when they have the skills to overcome challenges, they then have the skills to teach others. And once we as people are done being tested by racial hatred we will again, re-discover our passions for our own thriving instituitons, marketplaces, housing developments, and courses where we do not have to be a token in the minds of others. And if we do find ourselves as the only person of color at anyones gathering we will KNOW that they would be honored by our presence. I am often the only person of color and I no longer even notice as I no longer define myself as my race first, but as a universal being of great worth because I exist and I am grateful to be alive.

      In the instance of losing a life of an innocent child to racial hatred we must sharpen our skills in honoring the life that has past, and building stronger protection methods for other children. We must be willing to tell the whole truth about the experiences and teach our children about self protection.

      I did not watch any of the T. Martin trial and the only comment I have is that I offer a prayer of peace for his family. I pray that their grief will pass and that they find a way to bring him into memoriam and justice in their minds and hearts.

      Blessings to you and all of our teachers that give us healthy guidance. May we all turn in this direction as we heal and grow, mind, body, and spirit.

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