Fighting Educational Injustice, One Nap at a Time


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By Joseph Williams, Word In Black

Harvard educator and activist Shawn Ginwright believes that rest — sacrificed at the altars of capitalism and white supremacy — is a revolutionary act.

Combat fatigue by getting some much-needed rest, and heal racial trauma in the process. (GETTY/JGI/Jamie Grill)

It seems counterintuitive: rest as a radical act, a vehicle for educational and social change and racial healing. Yet the connection became real to Shawn Ginwright, a Harvard professor, community organizer, and social activist, one sleepless night back in 2001. 

“I was teaching at Santa Clara University” in California, and his wife, Nedra, had just given birth to their daughter, he said. At the same time, “I was the executive director of a nonprofit in Oakland and constantly raising money, and I was leading a series of youth organizing sessions with young people.”

Ginwright thought he could power through the increasingly heavy workload. But he couldn’t outrun the run-and-gun pressure he’d piled on himself. 

Learn how he escaped it and what this signifies for racial trauma in the original article.

New York University took a similar approach to healing in a recent exhibit.

For more on health and recovery more Black culture news here.

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