Interviewee: Naimah Johnson
Naimah is a healer, activist, and intra-psychic liberator. She currently provides trauma-focused counseling through her private practice and in community-based settings. She works with Black Women's Blueprint, supporting survivors of sexual assault & violence; she is a member of the village of healers with Harriet's Apothecary, and works collaboratively with a healing justice collective W.I.N. (We Inform the Narrative), providing training and facilitating community healing spaces. Her wide range of experience has fortified her multidimensional practice to create integrated interventions, which include clinical theory, community organizing tenets, advocacy and politicized activism. Naimah's work has reached varied populations, including children and adolescents involved in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Her clinical focus addresses the trauma experienced particularly by those who are under-resourced, marginalized and oppressed. This has informed work with individuals exposed to sexual assault, domestic violence, race & gender-based violence.
Interviewer: Shane Bernardo
Shane is a long-life Detroiter involved in social justice and primarily food justice issues. His current role is outreach coordinator for Earthworks Urban Farm, a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Shane is also a member of Detroit Asian Youth Project, The Detroit Food Justice Task Force, Uprooting Racism: Planting Justice, The People’s Platform Detroit and Equitable Detroit Coalition. As a former Detroit Future Media fellow, Shane is also developing his skills to document stories of resistance through the celebration of food, culture and the values embedded within them.
Summary: Black Women's Blueprint is using oral history interviews and oral testimony as the basis for a Spring 2016 Black Women's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, focusing on rape and sexual assault against Black women in the United States. In this interview, Naimah describes Black Women's Blueprint's approach to interviewing victims and survivors, and reflects on what it means, in practice, to respect, honor, and be accountable to the women they interview - at all points in the process.
Interview Date: November 10th, 2015
0:00 – 1:30: Introductions
2:20 – 4:00: On being explicit with interview goals and accountable in narrative collection
3:48: “Do no harm and center the lived experience, needs, and wants of the populations that have been most marginalized and most affected by oppression.”
4:00 – 5:20: Clarity and intention setting from the outset
6:00 – 7:05: Role of healing intervention work and reverence for individuals who share their narrative
7:05 – 10:15: How explicitness at the beginning is carried out through the process
8:00: “Consent is not just at the outset…It’s also all along the way asking, ‘Does this still feel safe for you? Is this still meeting your needs? Have your needs shifted? Do you still feel safe inside of this process?’”
9:35: “It’s not a static concept. It’s this dynamic and ongoing and constantly evolving and shifting experience of us applying intentionality, ensuring consent, and doing no harm to the person who is giving their story."