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Community engagement

The Engagement Services Division is committed to advancing community engagement in order to better serve Hennepin County residents.

Our strategy is to create and strengthen long-term sustainable relationships built on trust. This strategy aligns with and supports the county's mission, vision, core values, and disparity work.

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Hosted by Engagement Services Division, each small group healing circle will be led by a community healer who draws upon their lived experience and expertise. The intention is to create a welcoming, safe space for community members to begin and support healing from the trauma we've experienced in the past year.

Healing circle for young adults 18–24

Saturday, September 18, noon to 1 p.m.

Porsha Brown will lead this virtual healing circle and set the energy with music. She will also initiate a discussion about openness and change — what they look like and how they feel on an individual level as well as community level.

Healing circle for community members who identify as Asian American

Tuesday, September 21, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Transforming Generations will lead this virtual, community-care centered healing circle for community members, particularly those of Asian descent. Xay Yang and Seng Xiong will facilitate a discussion that gives space for participants to share their experiences and feelings around the events of the past year and provide guidance for how to navigate these uncertain times.

Healing circle for community members who identify as American Indian

Thursday, September 23, noon to 1:30 p.m.

This virtual healing circle, led by Nancy Bordeaux, will open with a prayer and song. Nancy will also share information about energy transference and values-based community building. Participants will have an opportunity for self-expression through hand-drum singing and healing touch.

Register for the American Indian circle online.

Healing circle for community members who identify as Latino/Latinx

Saturday, September 25, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Susana De Leon and fire keeper Josefina Catalan will lead this virtual healing circle for community members who identify as Latino/Latinx. It is based on medicinal Indigenous practices of Mexico with a four direction guided healing. Participants should have a candle, flower or plant to guide their intention.

Healing circle for community members who identify as African Immigrants

Tuesday, September 28, 4–5 p.m.

Antonia Apolinario-Wicoxon will leading this healing circle to help community members come together in collaborative dialogue and action to explore and discover who we really are to each other as well as the resources we can offer. We will reflect on our experiences of pain and suffering during chaotic times. We will share how we bring our lives of service to others and ourselves knowing that taking care of ourselves is a critical practice to achieve our liberation and humanity.

Healing circle for community members who identify as allies

Thursday, September 30, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Hennepin County’s Engagement Services team is hosting small group, virtual healing circles led by a community healers. Kirsten Johnson of Courageous Change Collective will facilitate a virtual healing circle for community members who identify as white anti-racist allies. The circle will provide a brave and support space for us to acknowledge all that is happening in our community and the ways we need to undertake our own healing in order to remain healthy and able to show up as allies for our BIPOC family, friends and neighbors.

Community healer biographies

Antonia Maria Apolinário-Wilcoxon

Antonia Maria Apolinário-Wilcoxon, Ed.D., of Equity Strategies, LLC, principal consultant provides direction and leadership in efforts of private, public, and collaborative efforts working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and vulnerable persons impacted by inequities.

An African-Brazilian, she brings experiences in education, corporate, private nonprofits and government to lead efforts that bring agency, voice and liberation in spaces where the presence of Oppression, bias and other barriers, silence those most valuable voices to find solutions to problems in their world.

A Certified ACES/Interface Coach/Trainer of Trainers Dr. Wilcoxon brings her lived experience of poverty, disenfranchisement and trauma reframing them and learning healing practices to alleviate suffering. She works to help emerge healing practices used by cultural communities to unleash the abilities of individuals to heal themselves.

Nancy Bordeaux

Nancy is a certified as an indigenous-focused practitioner with an expertise in historical intergenerational trauma and healing.

Porsha Brown

Porsha Brown is a Mental Health Therapist who uses an eclectic, non-traditional, holistic approach for therapy. The basis of her work is inspired from a psychodynamic lens with influences from Narrative Therapy and Client Centered Therapy. Porsha focuses on relationship building before engaging in the therapeutic process. She is sensitive to the healing journey and offers participants the power to identify what their journey will look like.

In addition to offering individual therapy, she is the Founder and Creative Director of Creating Space LLC. Creating Space allows for participants to explore topics centered on mental health and the intersectionality of the Black experience. For many participants, this is a safer place for them to be vulnerable about their experiences while slowly introducing them to the idea of therapy. Porsha believes healing does not necessarily need to involve therapy but can still be a therapeutic process. Porsha is native to Minneapolis and has lived here since her childhood. She is very passionate about being an active resident of her community. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in social work from Augsburg University.

Renee Butters

Renee is an Indigenous Healing Practitioner, will use cultural, holistic and hands on approaches to reconnect us to our most powerful healer, the healer within.

Thomas Collins

TC is YTT 200 yoga certified, originally from California, raised in Mississippi, and currently residing in Minnesota. An enthusiastic and passionate advocate for holistic alternatives, TC’s interest in yoga was piqued during his time as an undergrad after occurring a football back injury. Becoming conscious of his whole entirety, he vowed to dedicate his mission to balancing out the MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT.

In his classes, TC combines creative sequencing accompanied with R&B, Jazz, neo-soul type music, along with a dose of verbal inspiration to help deepen your connection and provide a blissful ambiance. Besides yoga, TC is interested in reading ancient literature, writing poetry, listening to philosophy lectures, and studying underlying traumas that plagues impoverished communities.

Susana De León

Susana is a Mexican, Indigenous, medicine cultural teacher and immigration attorney. She has been a cultural guide at the service of the Xican@, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities for over 25 years. In her practice, Susana teaches participants how to ground themselves in culture, combining body, mind and spirit for self and community healing. Besides her medicine work through dance and culture, Susana is a Xicana activist who works on issues of social justice in the BIPOC community. During her life, she has been active as a community organizer in the areas of self-determination, community-based leadership, immigration, domestic violence, women’s empowerment, human rights and cultural resistance. Susana holds high recognition bestowed upon her from her elders as a Generala of the “Mesa del Inmaculado Corazón de Maria”, Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue. In her designation as a Generala, Susana is trusted to guide people to ground themselves in a spiritual path based on cultural teachings of the Toltec, Aztec and Mayan ancestors and is accountable to her elders for her work.

Daeona Griffin

Daeona is a holistic healer who has worked in youth services, mainly with young mothers and those in foster care. She helps women heal and has years of life experiences that contribute to her understanding of what this means. Daeona works in environments where folks (especially black folks) lack the understanding of healing while trying to survive. She is a human testimony of being able to take traumas and turn them into more than whatever could have been imagined

Joi Hudson

Joi, of LoveYouBye Yoga, has been hosting events virtually and in person for three years. She is certified and trained to work with people of color.

Kirsten M. Johnson

Kirsten is a co-founder of the Courageous Change Collective working to grow communities of love and justice through transformative facilitation. Kirsten brings the lenses of emotional intelligence, intercultural competence and network weaving to all of her work.

Seng Xiong

Seng has completed a Healing Justice series and is a body worker in the realm of massage therapy. Seng has created their own healing circle previously and currently facilitates bi-­weekly Southeast Asian LGBTQ support group at Transforming Generations.

Xay Yang

Xay has a Master’s in Social Work and has previous experience working with immigrant/refugees, clients with substance use/addiction, LGBTQ community as well as victim/survivors of domestic violence. Xay has been organizing in the gender-¬≠based violence and LGBTQ community for over 10+ years.

Past healing circles

Healing circle for community members who identify as African American males 18+

This virtual healing circle, led by TC from Mind Body Spirit Wholistic Fitness, will be a space to relax and unwind from personal/environmental stress through music, movement and mindfulness by way of Yin/Ashtanga yoga. TC will also facilitate dialog to address systemic racism that plagues our communities and locks folks out of healthier choices.

This circle was held on Tuesday, August 31, 7 to 8:45 p.m.

Healing circle for community members who identify as African American (any age)

Led by Joi Hudson from LoveYouBye Yoga, this healing circle will be centered around beginner-friendly PTSD flow of Hatha yoga. There will also be sound bowl meditation led by Angelique Carson and the circle will conclude with group journaling.

This circle was held on Thursday, September 2, 6 to 7:45 p.m.

Healing circle for community members who identify as American Indian

This virtual healing circle, led by Renee Butters, will include cultural, holistic and hands-on approaches to reclaim the healer who lives in all of us.

This circle was held on Thursday, September 9, noon to 2 p.m.

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