HEAL LLC creates a ‘soft spot to land’ for LGBTQ women of color with ‘The Healing Journey’
The discourse surrounding intersectionality has swelled from one lawyer and a TED Talk to incorporate entire books, journal articles and even Twitter trends. The idea of human complexity, compounding privilege or marginalization has been interpreted in public policy and art and now Richmond even offers intersectional mental health services.
The Healing Journey, a support group especially for LGBTQ women of color and those who love them, held its first Open House this past Friday on March 25 at Diversity Richmond.
“Myself, H.E.A.L LLC, Will You Be Whole Ministries and a good friend of mine and colleague named Reverend Lacette Cross came together to talk about LGBTQ women of color and those that love them, [especially] when it comes to processing and support for sexual violence, intimate partner violence as well as cancer,” said Mrs. Chevelle Moss-Savage, the owner and founder of HEAL LLC which stands for ‘Helping everyone accept and adapt to life’. “A lot of times, we were noticing that LGBTQIA women of color that went through some of these things didn’t have any support specifically designed for that ethnic component [or] that race component. There were a lot of services that were offered [in Richmond] but there weren’t any geared towards people of color.”
Image of Moss-Savage via Diversity Richmond
When we last spoke with Mrs. Moss-Savage, we celebrated her dedication to the Richmond community, especially to those often lost in mainstream movements. In response to this issue, she founded H.E.A.L to allow folks in her community ‘a soft spot to land’ when they encounter life challenges/struggles.
“[My wife] jokes and says that if she would allow me, I would wrap our house in rainbow colors. I am just so comfortable in my own skin,” said Moss-Savage, who enjoys being very open about her own complex and fantastic identity. “I guess the reason why it was important for me to live boldly and authentically in all of who I am is because representation matters. If someone can see me and say ‘at least I know I can go to that person and have a soft spot to land, if I’m going through something,’. That is [why I think] H.E.A.L [and The Healing Journey] was so important for me to form and recognize that, listen, there is nothing wrong with therapy.”
Living unapologetically is easier said than done however, and this is where The Healing Journey comes into play.
Participants in the support group go through 12 weeks of group therapy that culminates in a graduation and ceremony. The group meets every other week and a second round starts on April 6th.
Moss-Savage’s staunch support of therapy in tandem with her positive outlook, personality and track-record has proven to be effective in the face of structural oppression. For LGBTQ, Black and intersectional-identifying folks, she aims to use The Healing Journey and H.E.A.L as a means to elevate the conversation of mental health in her respective community.
“There is nothing wrong with [the fact that] I’m a therapist with a therapist, because I believe in it.” she said, noting the Black often puts extra stigma on seeking mental health, add to that sexuality and it can get event more taboo. She compared the HEAL approach to a double edged sword: “I’m talking about mental health and gay stuff- nobody wants to talk about that in the Black community.”
If you missed out on the first open house for The Healing Journey, do not worry- the program is set to admit all who wish to engage in the group- meaning that after the first cohort of the support group grows and graduates together, the next group of folks will be next. Additional events include an over night retreat and graduation ceremony upon completion. From there, monthly meetings will be available.
The Healing Journey resource will prove most beneficial in the aftermath of a divisive and unclear political future for social equity legislation. For Black women, the duality of being a person of color and a woman in this country is an experience that can create fatigue or feelings of being alone. Mix in the uncertainty of state or federal support for LGBTQ+ social equity and you have an issue that can be overwhelming.
The importance of representation, as Mrs. Moss-Savage spoke on, is not only a viable a solution but a solution that builds the base for other awesome ideas. HEAL and the Healing Journey meets regularly at Diveristy Richmond - 1407 Sherwood Ave, Richmond, VA 23220 – and you can find out more about the group on their website here.
When Chevelle Moss-Savage came into her authentic self and started to embrace her queerness, she eagerly searched within the LGBTQ community for role models/mentors. She said she found them lacking, noting she didn’t see anyone who looked like her or who could relate to her unique intersections. This prompted her to live my life boldly, loudly [...]February 20, 2017
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