Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Healing Spaces For Racial Trauma After Police Involved Shootings

A large group of people marched from the Stranahan Park through Andrews Avenue to the Broward Sheriff's Office Main Jail during a Black Lives Matter rally against police violence.  Read more here:
Pedro Portal
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

This month two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The trauma of those events can be seen and  felt in black communities around the country.

Soul Sisters leadership collective is a Miami nonprofit helping to address the mental health consequences after police–involved shootings.

Tanisha Douglas is co-founder of the collective and a social worker and she helped create spaces in South Florida, for people, specifically black people, to work out how they were feeling after these killings.

Douglas was in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, leading healing sessions and she spoke to WLRN's Nadege Green. Below is a condensed version of their conversation on why these spaces are necessary.

After these shootings happened ,what were you seeing in South Florida  that made you want to put together a community space for healing?

One of the members of our Soul Sisters youth board saw the need. When I looked around, I saw the youth leader was right. A lot of people were sad, feeling triggered around this community trauma that we were all witnessing live and direct. And folks were feeling lost...It was important for us to create a space where folks can get with their pain. 

I was actually there for a similar version of this in Miami, something you called “a healing circle.” You said that had to be a safe space for people to feel free to open up, so media was not able to record. So can you describe what was happening there?

People screamed and raged. People cried. People expressed feeling nothing, feeling numb. And others felt paralyzed, afraid that them or someone they knew would have an encounter with an officer that would end up in death. 

At that Miami healing circle, everyone was in one room. And then, before the talks happened people were separated by race. Black people were in one room. White people were in an another room. And non blackpeople of color were in their own space.

There was some pushback about that separation on social media. What’s your response to that? And why did you choose to not have the healing circle as one big mix of just everyone? 

I think the best way to think about black folks having our own space to grieve is to think about what happens after they experience a loss.  When a family experience a loss, they get together as a family first and then they invite their friends and allies to join them in the grief. 

What are some options for making sure people are taking care of themselves when graphic videos are streaming all over social media and on the news, pictures are being shared, arguments and counter-arguments are all over the place . What happens when you’ve reached your emotional limit? How does one cope? 

What comes to mind immediately is the need to rest. Mental rest, which sometime means a media detox, not engaging with social media and just spending time with one's self, with family and taking time to ourselves and what matters to us. 

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit .

Nadege Greencovers social justice issues for WLRN.