Healing Justice Curriculum

Healing Justice Curriculum

Detroit Heals Detroit is committed to supporting youth in their development as community leaders and facilitators and in their journeys toward healing and justice. We have developed this curriculum centered on equity and the cultivation of belonging for all students through a culturally responsive lens. Much of our work is grounded in the history of race and racism in US education and the envisioning of what real equity looks like, sounds like, and feels like. We bring an awareness of history, a heart of equity, and years of experience. This means that we have an eye for inclusion, differentiation, and access, designing in a way that will allow all participants an entrance into the healing and transformation within the curriculum. Additionally, we are also well-versed in innovative approaches and have supported schools by designing powerful, engaging circles for students of color. These circles, which include both proactive and harm/restoration practices, provide a space for students to be seen, to process their experiences, and to receive support from their peers. We believe in young people leading the way toward building critical consciousness, strengthening their self-concept, and positively impacting their own communities to generate greater community well-being.

At Detroit Heals Detroit, we understand that young people are the key to creating lasting change in their communities. Because our curriculum is designed to be youth-led, we believe there must be materials within the curriculum that are specifically youth-facilitator facing. Just as a teacher must understand a curriculum in order to teach it, we believe there should be adequate materials preparing the student- facilitators to successfully understand, internalize, and run this curriculum.

We use healing-centered engagement that focuses on the intersectionality of culture, race, gender and class and create a space where healing is experienced collectively. A lot of curricula claim to be "trauma-informed" but fail to take into account how social issues like racism come into play, as if racism isn't one of the main sources of collective trauma for Black folks. If you aren't talking about racism, you aren't "trauma-informed." If our nations' public schools maintain systems of oppression and inequity, then it can't be a true source of racial healing. Which is why these Healing spaces have to exist outside of schools as well. Healing that is about our liberation, not about our survival. Giving youth a space to talk about their feelings is great but also giving them a space where they can strategize ways to dismantle a system that has caused our people pain for decades is the real revolutionary space Black youth need in schools and communities. 

Our innovation stems from the fact that we address the root causes of trauma that exist outside of schools. Dena Simmons warns us that SEL void of culturally-affirming practices and that isn't social justice centered is just "White Supremacy with a hug." Which is why our curriculum lifts up these social justice issues; and develops youth into community organizers and agents of change. Our curriculum is an intentional movement away from adults "checking-in" with students or adults creating programs/protocols for students, and moves toward SEL that is co-designed by students and co-led with young people. 

We will bring about collective liberation that will see students beyond their trauma and the classroom community will become their "homeplace", a term coined by bell hooks, a space where our youth truly matter to themselves and one another, where their souls are nurtured and fed; a space of resistance. 

Curriculum Includes:

30 lessons | 10-12 Weeks

  • Pacing Guide and Unit Map
  • Lesson/Unit Objectives 
  • Essential Questions related to SEL & Social Justice
  • Best Practices for Practioners
  • Powerpoints for all Lessons
  • Worksheets for all Lessons
  • Teacher/Facilitator Guide for all Lessons
  • Icebreakers/Connectors
  • Pre & Post Surveys for Students & Educators