From the first melodic utterances of my African ancestors to the in-utero lullabies sung by my parents, from the gospel call and response of my grandparents in church services to the voices of collective resistance against poverty, injustice, and inequality—rooted in and reaching beyond the civil rights movement—music has been an integral part of my life, just like water, air, food, and rest. Therefore, it’s no surprise that I have used music as a shield, a weapon, and an anchor, allowing my soul to not just survive but thrive in situations that were not designed for me to overcome.

Recently, I faced a year’s worth of obstacles that could have caused my earthly demise. However, using music therapy to carefully curate songs that deeply resonate beyond my thoughts, I gained access to layers of consciousness that help me understand, accept, and heal from many physical, mental, and emotional ailments. This in turn has empowered me with the strength to continue my purpose and passion to help others thrive. The current iteration of my service is in the form of providing people access to healthy food while gently pointing them toward greater respect and reverence for and reconciliation with all sentient beings and the planet.

Trauma is a deeply distressing experience that can have long-lasting effects on our mental and physical health. However, with the right tools and support, it is possible to overcome trauma and move forward with resilience and strength. One of the most important steps in overcoming personal or collective trauma is to seek support. This might involve talking to a therapist or counselor, joining a support group, or reaching out to friends and family. 

Another key step in overcoming trauma is to practice self-care. This might involve engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature. It might also involve prioritizing healthy habits, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and regular sleep. Self-care can help you feel more grounded and resilient and can provide a sense of control and empowerment during a difficult time. It’s also important to remember that healing from trauma is a process, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to be patient and compassionate with yourself and to seek out resources and support that resonate with your needs and preferences.

Overcoming collective trauma requires a collective response. This might involve community-based interventions that promote resilience and healing or policy changes and other systemic interventions that address the root causes of trauma, such as poverty, racism, or environmental degradation.

One approach to overcoming collective trauma is to focus on building resilience through community-based interventions. This might involve creating safe spaces for people to come together and share their experiences or developing programs that promote mental health and well-being, such as mindfulness meditation or art therapy. 

Another approach to overcoming collective trauma is to address the root causes of trauma through systemic interventions. This might involve addressing social and economic inequalities that contribute to trauma or investing in public health infrastructure and disaster preparedness to prevent future traumatic events. By taking a proactive approach to collective trauma, we can work toward creating a more just and equitable society that supports the well-being of all its members.

Overcoming personal and collective trauma is a complex and challenging process, but it is possible with the right tools and support. By seeking out resources and support, practicing self-care, and working together to build resilience and address the root causes of trauma, we can overcome the effects of trauma and move forward with strength and resilience.

*This article was written by a grantee of The People’s Fund and reflects their original thoughts and perspective. All questions or impressions of their work can be directed to their social media linked at the end of this piece.


Doreen Haywood is an agriculturist, an urban farmer, and the founder of Black Women Farmers of LA. She partners with schools, community gardens, and restaurants with the goal of promoting regenerative practices that nourish and empower individuals and communities with limited access to fresh, organic, and nutrient-dense local produce.

Mercy For Animals is proud to support Black Women Farmers of LA as a People’s Fund grantee and grateful for their partnership in our mission to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system.