Black Lives Matter event in Western Massachusetts        July 2016


Julius Jones narrated this to us at lunch the day after he led this event..


A-      Started with a meal prepared by volunteers.


B-      Initial framing


Julius framed the event as Freedom Circles and “healing for marginalized communities.” About half of the participants are African-American; there are LGBT and other folks as well.


And, described how this is not about particular issues in specific, but circles of healing and inclusion people.

…about people standing shoulder to shoulder with each other in a collaborative way, open to what healing wants to come in.


Early on they said this was nondenominational, but, if anyone feels offended, they are welcome to leave at any time.

That this process is high on consciousness and low on “spirits”


He acknowledged the community, each of the people.

There was framing about intersectionality - sexism and racism both, rather than focusing on just one issue to the exclusion of others.


1)      The intersectionality of oppression. Intersectionality 2.0 includes gender, race, sexual identification, culture, and undocumented people

-The intention is to build deep political solidarity, so that all can exist and coalesce in the same space.

-This particular process we will be doing is intentionally apolitical. It is emotionally and spiritually centered, politics are secondary here.


2)      There are divisions sewn in each oppressed community, fractures within, and between, each community.

This has been called the “Oppression Olympics” - a sense of “you don’t understand my pain. You can’t… And, my pain is more important than yours…”

This creates a situation where different groups are vying for grant monies


It is important to talk about privilege and victim. Often people are pitted into either-or. Obama and Hillary Clinton was given as one example of this



C-      They began with an exercise in resonant storytelling.

People were paired up.

One person was asked to tell a story of where they either felt marginalized, or felt free.


Their partner resonates back. The listener is asked to find something in the other person’s story, however different it was from their own life, that they can resonate with.


Listeners are instructed: “Do not include your own stuff in this. It is not about you or your feelings but just “I can resonate with the part where you…. “


After the group did this, there was a huge shift. People then came back into the whole group, and some people were invited to report back what happened. There was very sincere sharing here.



D-      The next step was to introduce Constellations, which were described as “a healing modality, usually reserved for those with money, and that there is often a big “pay wall” around these kinds of processes..”


 [One of the things that were taken into account was that most of the people here did not have experience with Constellations and were uninitiated into any of these processes. Also many of the people involved here were struggling with safety and physical levels on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.]


Then, representative perception was explained,  as an introduction to constellations.

Each of the 4 people with experience in constellations shared their own description of this, so the group could get to hear it from different people.


This includes things such as:

-moving from a headspace to a body space

-feel what’s in your bodies

-this is not role-playing

-to step into someone’s field, just feel it…



In the description, they mention that BLM is black centered, multi-identity.

And, that they might decide to split the group by identification, such as gender or color, later. While there was some deep political solidarity, their intention is not to be political.


They began the constellation by holding up four large cards, and asking four people to come forward to represent the 4 core values of America :







After this they said that each of these has a shadow, held up these large cards, and asked for representatives for the shadow of each of these values:

Mass incarceration





A few minutes later, they did the same for representatives for the 4 primary lineages of people in the USA , who were also invited in:

Indigenous natives

English, Scots-Irish settlers

African Slaves

Later immigrants


Then everyone else was invited in afterwards, to enter into the field – and to notice where they were drawn, and where they wished to avoid….



At one point, the constellation seemed to come to a stop. One of the co-facilitators spoke aloud some group reflections and pointed out some of the relationships that she was noticing from her perspective on a chair.


Another one was drumming at times, which also helped move the constellation along.


At times, people were reminded/ given cues and other prompts to help them allow the feelings that came.



At one point, the rep for Democracy gave back her card and said “Nobody wants me; I don’t even believe in it.”

One of facilitators replied “You don’t have to believe it, you just have to represent it”.

 She did.

Later in representation, she had a powerful experience when she checked in during the report out.



When the constellation movement would stop, the facilitator did check-in’s, asking people to report on how they were feeling, or what was happening for them


Julius handed out another set of cards after a while. These included:


Empowerment of the Feminine

Love - Heart

Climate Change /Environment

Black Lives Matter.


Just adding those four energies to the constellations was the healing movement. The feminine empowerment seemed to be the largest of these.


When this happened, there was much less feelings of despair or feeling victimized. People began to smile and be animated…



 There were healing movements already in the field… People were coming forth…

When Black Lives Matter representative came up to the representative for African slaves, the representative for the slaves said “before that happened, I felt that the only way through was mass incarceration to violence. “


As a representative, this person said that it was the first time she realized that she could go to freedom or to Black Lives Matter…. that there are choices that are not about mass incarceration or violence, but she could move toward freedom.

Her statement “that there are choices” establishes that this healing movement is already there.


Some got a sense that all that we wish for, is already in the field.


Near the end, it was starting to rain out on the patio where they were doing this process.

A spiral began to form… Someone, on the tail of the spiral that was forming, said  “I don’t have a place here”.

That person started crying and everyone began to feel connected.


Then many women said, “We’re not done; we want to hear from Militarization” whose back was to them.

Militarization was the last to report….



A very striking image was a well-dressed African-American female who was standing outside with her arms outstretched,  allowing the rain to fall on her after the Constellation, just enjoying the entire experience


“This is what real belonging looks and feels like…” is what she said….