BCRW @ 50

Changing Frequencies and Healing Histories Project

Changing Frequencies is an ongoing archival memory and cultural organizing project founded by Cara Page, BCRW Activist-in-Residence, which partners with other organizers, cultural workers, and healing/health practitioners to build power with communities to resist, heal, and transform the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC) and its roots in racial capitalism. The work is held in three parts: Memory & Cultural Work; Abolitionist Campaigns to Disrupt the MIC; and the Healing Histories Project.  

Changing Frequencies Memory & Cultural Work includes such performance installations as the “Psalm For the Mismeasured and Unfit”, with the Artistic Director, Ebony Noelle Golden of Betty Daughter’s Arts Collaborative, which premiered at the 43rd annual Scholar and Feminist Conference, Subverting Surveillance: Strategies to End State Violence. Changing Frequencies is in current production working on two media and memory projects: 1) a virtual reality project to give testimonial to the hundreds of Black people experimented on and institutionalized at the Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia; and 2) a collaborative media project with filmmaker, Luce Capco Lincoln, exploring the archival history of generational trauma from eugenic practices in the U.S. on formerly enslaved African American and Filipino communities in the 1700’s. Their work is rooted in exploring their cultural communities resilience & memory during colonization and slavery.

Abolitionist Campaigns to Disrupt the MIC: Changing Frequencies is currently co-organizing a public health and healing justice strategy in partnership with Project South and other partners, for the #Shut Down the Irwin County Georgia ICE Detention Center campaign in response to massive sterilizations at this detention center, and more broadly to abolish detention centers and prisons. (Please sign the global Health, Healing Justice & Liberation Statement co-written by advocates, healers, and health practitioners in solidarity with the campaign to challenge the history harms and abuses of the MIC as an extension of state control within prisons and detention centers.)  

A critical part to Changing Frequencies is the Healing Histories Project (HHP, previously known as the Medical Industrial Complex Timeline Project) co-led with organizers and practitioners, Anjali Taneja, Susan Raffo, and Cara Page, this is a collaborative project over ten years in the making. Started by the three co-leads who met in the context of organizing at the US Social Forum in Detroit in 2010 and co-coordinated with many others, including the Healing Justice and Liberation People’s Movement Assembly, the Healing Histories Project seeks to build and organize with healers, medical practitioners, organizers, media makers, and cultural and memory workers, to transform the long-term impact and generational trauma from the abuses of the MIC as an extension of colonization, slavery, and state violence. They continue to collaborate through HHP to elevate and amplify a vision for collective care and safety while integrating models of wellness that seek to transform and intervene on medical violence (eg. scientific racism) and societal abuses of our private and public healthcare. From the forthcoming website: 

“We believe that all deserve care and support during times of crisis and vulnerability. We come together to inform and shape a vision for collective care and safety while integrating models of wellness that seek to transform and intervene on medical violence, harms, and abuses rooted in racism and capitalism. This also includes interrupting socio-political abuses of our private and public healthcare. We do this work through the creation of popular education tools and curriculum.” 

HHP continues to be an archive and exploration of an unfinished conversation not only on reproductive justice, but also other forms of liberatory frameworks including healing justice, transformative justice and collective care & safety. Through a collaborative research process and format of a timeline, HHP documents the U.S.-based histories of privatization of health; medical/healthcare/social welfare institutions; technology and surveillance; drugs and Big Pharma; death and dying; human experimentation; the medicalization of LGBTSTQGNCI people; disability justice; labor justice; reproductive justice; carceral and policing systems; legal systems of control; migration/immigration; as well as forms of grassroots resistance that emerge against these histories. HHP makes the connections between the oppressive systems that form the MIC and the ancestral traditions and practices of healing that these systems seek to suppress. Its purpose is to incite action by engaging healing/health practitioners, frontline healthcare workers and organizers on how to transform the MIC and challenge the biological policing & surveillance of marginalized communities by the state through the MIC. 

HHP is grounded in the framework of healing justice. In the words of the co-organizers: “Working over the last ten years has also meant living and learning through the shifting and expanding nature of work identified within the framework of healing justice. From the beginning, when Black/POC/LGBTQ communities in the South named “healing justice” as the framework that named healing as integral to political liberation by  addressing the impact of trauma on our communities and movements and the importance of lifting and building cultural healing approaches to support our transformation, they included an awareness of the systems, both historically and in the present moment, that work to prevent this transformation. 

When Cara Page joined the Center’s Social Justice Institute as an Activist-in-Residence, she brought the ongoing conversation of the Healing Histories Project to the Center’s research efforts and events. Along the way she has received support from Barnard, Janet Jakobsen and BCRW with the help of student research assistants Sophie Kreitzberg '19, Caroline Montgomery '18, and Sarah Kravinsky '18, and assistant curators, Nicola Glen Douglas CC'18 and Em He '21, Cara has continued her own community learning and grassroots research process on various topics of the timeline and began to put it in many forms: digital, paper, performance, and conversations. At the Center’s conferences during her residency, previews of the digital timeline and paper forms of the timeline wrapping the walls of the event space were presented and received interactive feedback and enthusiasm. Furthermore, Cara Page has interwoven and made clear the connections between the MIC and state violence as well as transformative justice and healing justice through several conversations hosted by the Center around policing and surveillance.

The Healing Histories Project is a long-term project that resists racial capitalist and ableist ideologies of work and learning, which means it is shaped by time and our evolving conditions and understandings. Currently, the timeline curation team is working on sharing a COVID-19 focused timeline of the MIC to document the important histories, moments, and movements of this pandemic. The full MIC Timeline is intended to be launched in 2021 (it has been delayed due holding community during COVID-19, and a funding setback) with the goal to “support emerging partnerships that come together to re-vision, remember, and recreate the practices that support our individual and collective healing and resilience and that are grounded in liberatory practice. Basically, we come together to dream of revolution, one body at a time.”

Read more about Healing Histories:  Disrupting the Medical Industrial Complex By Susan Raffo, Anjali Taneja & Cara Page here

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