WHAT IS Holistic Empowerment?
It all began in 1992 working as the first transgender HIV outreach worker in Los Angeles County. From there my work grew to hold county, state, and national planning meetings organizing HIV prevention efforts around the country. As an activist my work solely focused on advancing the awareness of transgender persons: our existence, risk factors, social determinants of health and provide leadership in developing progressive strategies to move us beyond these problematic norms. Before long, it wa
s not difficult to see the work did not stem in HIV but in larger systematic and organizational oppression that needed to be addressed.
One of the more tiring aspects of the work is having to talk about a problem that I personally felt was not the root cause of our dilemma. Our issues stemmed in systematic religious oppression, racism, stigma, sexism, and the list go on and on. Our people needed HEALING. This would require I step into my own power and put it into the world as a healing yet evidence-based organization. But the complication lies still in defining what healing means. The challenge is to remain firm in our organization being Sacred and person- centered, while defining even what that means to the novice. This is but one re
ason why this organization has had to take slow steps, primarily those achieved in the silence, in order to fully materialize this work as a viable organization committed and fully resourced to make social change.
And here we are, Holistic Empowerment Institute! We are indeed person centered. We are indeed rooted in the sacred, the holistic, and the spiritual. We are not a religious institution nor are we affiliated
with any. We do believe that spirituality is universal and need not be confined to a single creed, doctrine, or even the belief in a deity entirely. We simply know that the healing modalities that have existed for our people throughout the ages such as stillness, community gathering, ceremony, root and plant work, somatic work, and on and on have proven to be effective tools in bringing solace, comfort, and healing to our people. HEI is different in both our person-centered approaches to our internal structure (did you catch my title?). This organization is my love letter to all of my beloved community. We are committed to fleshing out what this looks like organizationally and operationally. We are dedicated to developing programs, strategy, social position, an individual work committed to imparting healing which will enable our people to live thriving and live successful lives and create new norms that put is in a place of power, that being our birthright.
Holistic Empowerment, a model in development, that serves as a primary trellis upon which all HEI interventions utilize and process information through. Holistic Empowerment is model that incorporates aspects of key areas of focus to include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Body Work/Sacred Dance
ETHO-CUILTURAL HEALING PRACTICES
Earth-Based (botany) Practices
Study of Sacred Text
Acknowledgement of Sacred Holidays
Religious ways of being