Painting of woman

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

This month’s resource comes from new Equity Committee member Jessie Krohn: Resmaa Menakem is a Twin Cities-based body-centered therapist who specializes in trauma work. I had the opportunity to see him speak at an event a few years ago and was inspired to read his book, My Grandmother’s Hands. In the book, Menakem examines the damage caused by racism and the generational anguish of white supremacy, which affects all people. He argues that this has caused trauma that lives in our bodies and that it requires healing at the body level. 

In the first part of the book, Menakem explains how white-body supremacy gets systematically embedded into our American bodies and appears in different forms, with different trauma responses. The latter part of the book is filled with practices and activities designed to help each of us mend our own trauma around white-body supremacy and create more room in our nervous systems for growth. There are also practical tools for creating more healing in our “collective body” or community.  

I have read many books that have re-educated my cognitive brain about the history of racism and its effects on our country. However, this Menakem’s book is helping me engage my body and the ideas that it has stored around what is safe and what is dangerous, where I constrict and release. As Menakem writes, “If we are to upend the status quo of white-body supremacy, we must begin with our bodies.”