Move on like nothing happened? We need a better approach.

 


“They are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and loss that their pain and loss were illusions.”

 – Elie Wiesel

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had a delightful meeting with a woman who works with refugees in Orange County, yet it only affirmed what was already apparent. Local refugees need far more help than is currently available to them. It is undeniable that we have mass traumatized populations in this world, and the number of refugees being re-settled locally can only be expected to increase.

How can large numbers of traumatized, grief-stricken people fleeing conflict zones, mass atrocities and genocide be expected to receive only the most minimal help when they arrive in the U.S., and then just jump in to our society and move on like nothing happened?

Living Ubuntu is mid-way in our plan to establish a different approach to trauma recovery. As an organization, we are tiny, but determined, and we are going to need your ongoing support to accomplish our goals.

As background to our efforts, last year I wrote a 3-part series describing many of the commonplace difficulties refugees face:

In 2012 (Phase 1), we completed a needs assessment survey in City Heights, and found over 80% of the East African refugees that participated had at least mild symptoms of unresolved trauma. In 2013 (Phase 2), local refugee leaders participated in a 6-week series on trauma. In that group they learned and practiced a body-centered method of trauma recovery, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE). Our success in these two initial phases laid the groundwork for the upcoming September 2014 launch of Phase 3, a 2-month pilot project with 40 female East African Refugees in City Heights (San Diego). Faculty from National University will statistically analyze its effectiveness.

In the coming weeks watch for more detailed information about what we have planned for the immediate, the not-too-far-off future, and the long-term.

For now, here is what you can do to help:

1.)    Want to find out more? Get involved? Come to our next planning meeting, Tuesday, June 17 in Newport Beach. Details are below, including a call-in option.
2.)    Become a one-time or monthly donor. Your financial support can make an enormous difference, having direct impact by increasing the number of refugees we can help.

With gratitude,

Barbara English, LMFT
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
livingubuntu.org | facebook | donate »
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings.

 

::: UPCOMING LIVING UBUNTU EVENTS :::

Living Ubuntu Planning Meeting– all are welcome :)
Tuesday June 17 6:30p
1151 Dove Street #210
Newport Beach CA 92660
Conference line: Conference dial-in number: (951) 262-4343 | Participant access code: 377504

Global Warming Collaborative Planning Meeting
Wednesday, June 25 6:30p
1151 Dove Street #210
Newport Beach CA 92660
Conference line: Conference dial-in number: (951) 262-4343 | Participant access code: 377504

TRE Certification Level One Training– more info soon!
Friday August 22 – Sunday August 24
San Diego

::: UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS :::

Slow Money – SoCal, featuring Mark Evans, Founder of The Ecology Center
Wednesday June 18 6p-8:30p
Dana Point

 

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What’s a mere human to do? (Intro to TRE May 17)

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
– Hermann Hesse

Hi everyone,

April was amazing! Thanks again to everyone that came out to attend the “Remembering the Past Toward Healing our Future” events. Genocide is an incredibly horrific topic to deal with, and can rapidly take a toll on anyone trying to learn more about it, let alone the enormous (beyond description) toll it takes on those who have lived through it, or were born into a family that did. In line with the title, the question begs to be asked, what can we do to better address the need for healing in this world, in our own lives, and the lives of others? What can be done ‘toward healing our future’?

As we look around our world there is much that is in urgent need of sustained attention, committed engagement, and well-thought-through, wise action. We see alarming reports on global warming, numerous international conflicts, countless natural disasters, and an array of important additional long-neglected domestic issues.

Yet most people in our society are just trying to survive the overwhelm that comes from seeking to keep up on the many varied demands of everyday living.

With so much required of us, in so many different ways, what’s a mere human to do?
Continue reading

April 29 Chapman & April 30 Closing Reception – the last two April GAPM events

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Hi everyone,

This coming week brings the final two events of the April 2014 GAPM film series, Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future.

Tuesday, April 29 at 7p, please join us at Chapman University for An Evening of Holocaust Remembrance that includes a screening of the film, “Numbered”. The program also includes a Musical Tribute, Lighting of Candles and a talk given by the filmmaker, Uriel Sinai. Just like all of our other events this month, we will be asking you to contribute your heart felt thoughts on one of the cards that features a photograph and story of a genocide survivor or victim. Messages from all events become part of the mobile exhibit “Everyone Has a Name” on display the following evening at the Closing Reception.

Details of the Wednesday April 30 7p Closing Reception are as follows. We wanted to offer a time to get together and connect after six very powerful events. Integration of experiences is an important part of any journey. Please join us in the University Synagogue Social Hall as we gather for reflective conversation, and begin to think about how we can collaboratively move forward, addressing the question: what’s next?

If you plan to attend on April 29 or April 30, R.S.V.P. now ». Continue reading

April 17 at UCI: Sudan (Remembering the Past toward Healing Our Future)


My first thought when I learned about the genocide was that if I could help just one child not experience what I went through as a second generation survivor, then it would be worth it. – Martina Knee

Second Generation Survivor, First Generation Activist – An Interview with Martina Knee

We learned how to jump into bunkers by about age five.  We were taught to distinguish the sound of a normal airplane coming to land and the sound of the bombers.- Wai John Wai
Giving Back to Sudan, from San Diego – An Interview with Wai John Wai

Hi everyone,

The first week of Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future included three very powerful events. You can find photos on the Living Ubuntu Facebook page.

This week: the fourth in the film series. On April 17 at UCI, the International Studies Public Forum will focus on Sudan, the only event in the series about an ongoing genocide.

One of our speakers, Joseph Jok, was born in South Sudan, now working for International Rescue Committee in San Diego. I have had the pleasure of knowing Joseph for many years. He has been part of the collaborative effort with us to help launch Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego. As many of you know, extreme violence began in South Sudan on December 15, 2013. We will screen recent film clips and get to hear first hand from Joseph about his own experiences. Continue reading

Interviews with Survivors | April GAPM film series starts April 1 (tomorrow)


Hi everyone,

Living Ubuntu volunteer, Alicia Buly, has been meeting with survivors of genocide and interviewing them for our blog. These pieces are absolutely essential reading. Many of these survivors will be speakers at the April film series events. Three of the interviews are below.

When we heard that the international soldiers were leaving the country, it was a disappointment. We were discouraged then. It was like a betrayal. They were betraying us. – Edith Umugiraneza
Finding Strength in Testimony – An Interview with Edith Umugiraneza (April 1 – Rwanda)

My grandmother asked: “Are there any Armenians left?” What she and her companion had witnessed during the deportation made them think they were the only Armenians left in the world. – Levon Marashlian
Activism Through Education – An Interview with Levon Marashlian (April 2 – Armenian)

My grandmother talked about how peaceful life was before the genocide… …after the Khmer Rouge, everything changed. – Zaklin Phat
Cambodia’s Past Shapes America’s Future – An Interview with Zaklin Phat (April 3 – Cambodia)

Continue reading

I am here. I will stay. And I will not forget you.

Hi everyone,

This morning I read an email from a dear friend I have known for years, yet never met in person. He was born and raised in Darfur, now thankfully studying abroad in safety. His email was about his extreme concern for his family and friends that remain in his homeland, the violence having once again recently escalated. This year alone has displaced hundreds of thousands.

My friend knows all too well what can happen, having lost myriad friends and family members to this seemingly endless genocide already. He knows when a family member comes to visit, it may be their last. He knows that a long walk for the family’s water may result in death upon return. He knows firsthand that those who protest in peace risk detention and torture. He knows full well that sometimes they are released after a few days, and sometimes they are not. Continue reading

The trans-generational nature of trauma

There are many instances in which we are not the master’s of our fate. Yet our helplessness in these areas is tolerable because all human beings are in the same boat. And we need each other to counter the darkness, to keep out the cold, to provide meaning to existence. Human beings are social creatures. It is with other people that we find the warmth, the excitement, and the challenge of life. And only within the human community do we dare face the frightening unknown.
 – Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a reporter about the upcoming April events. The conversation headed in the direction that conversations often go when I am involved, toward trans-generational trauma.

  • Women pregnant during 9/11 gave birth to infants with stress hormone levels that correlate with trauma.
  • Attachment researchers identified compelling evidence that mothers with unresolved grief and trauma are frequently unable to provide the secure attachment necessary for babies’ optimal health and emotional / intellectual development. Many of these babies throughout their lifetime have increased risk of physical, emotional and relational difficulties, and increased risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The myth that children are “resilient” persists. As child trauma expert, Dr. Bruce Perry, put it, children are not resilient; they are malleable. Continue reading