Movement: Somatics & Social Justice Collaborative

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In January 2009, we gathered a group of 28 national social justice leaders, movement builders, community organizers and radical healers together for the Somatics and Social Justice Collaborative. Our purpose was to create a transformative change model integrating personal and social change. It was a year-long change process, and we envisioned the model we created as being relevant to politicized healing, leadership and organizational development, community organizing and movement building.  The goals of the Somatics and Social Justice Collaborative were:

·       To create a Transformative Change Model integrating Somatics and Social Justice to contribute to building a more powerful, effective and relevant social and environmental justice movement within the U.S.

·       To develop a change model that re-envisions the use of somatics as a theory and tool for social change (including addressing individual and collective trauma).

·       To develop a change model that integrates personal and social transformation.

·       To document the process and identify key opportunities to test and evaluate the Transformative Change Model across various social and environmental justice organizations and movement sectors. 

·       To develop popular, accessible models by translating terminology and making somatic models understandable to a broader audience.

The SSJ core organizers were: Ng’ethe Maina of Social Justice Leadership, Malkia Cyril of Center for Media Justice, Sara Kershnar formerly of generation FIVE, Spenta Kandawalla of generative somatics, and Staci Haines of generative somatics.  Alan Greig served as documentarian to the process, capturing our year together and helping to develop the SSJ model.

Organizations represented in the Somatics & Social Justice Collaborative include the following:

Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center

Arab Resource & Organizing Committee

Center for Media Justice

Center for Transformative Change

Community United Against Violence

Females United for Action

Ford Foundation

Friends & Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children

generation FIVE


Jewish Funds for Justice

Labor & Community Strategy Center

Movement Strategy Center

Ruckus Society

Social Justice Leadership

Trans/Gender Variant in Prison Committee


The Somatics & Social Justice Collaborative ended its initial phase at the beginning of 2010 with profound excitement and investment in the integration of somatics and movement work. A resounding “yes” for this kind of transformative work resonated from collaborative members, and people were talking specifically about somatics in their organizations, alliances, around their dinner tables, and at parties. A buzz had started and what we feared may disappear alongside many movement fads, has only grown deeper and stronger throughout the year.

Click here to read the Somatics & Social Justice Collaborative’s Transformative Change Model: