Historical Perspective

History of Safe Black Space

Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles started in April 2018 in response to increased racial tensions and trauma after the killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22 year old Black man, by the Sacramento Police. Meant to provide a chance for Black people to deal with the rage, shock, fear, and sadness that so many of us were (and are) feeling.

Safe Black Space has mobilized a growing collective of local practitioners, community members and activists, faith leaders, educators and others of African ancestry. This village has been offering Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles on a monthly basis across Sacramento, as well as advocating locally and demanding justice in instances of racism and oppression.

Why is Safe Black Space important?

In the current climate, many people of African ancestry are experiencing trauma related to systemic racism and are feeling the impact of our humanity not being valued. We are upset! Some of us avoid our feelings or numb out. Some of us experience fear that something bad is going to happen to us or to our loved ones. Some of us are struggling with rage and frustration. It can be overwhelming.

The absence of trauma-informed, culturally competent mental health care in Black communities means we are not being properly served.  Money is often spent on care that does not address our specific needs or concerns and which can be re-traumatizing.

Safe Black Space provides culturally specific strategies and resources to help Black people heal from historical and current wounds, both individually and collectively.

Check out this article on Police violence and Safe Black Space.

Who is Safe Black Space for?

Safe Black Space is for people who self-identify as being of African ancestry and who are experiencing racial stress, anxiety, and/or trauma. Currently, its gatherings and resources are designed for adults and youth who are at least 14 years old.


Safe Black Space Founding Members

  • Dr. Kristee Haggins, member of the Association of Black Psychologists

  • Pastor Joy Johnson, Leadership of Sacramento Area Congregations

  • Rev. Kevin Kitrell Ross, Leadership of Unity of Sacramento.



"People of African descent need communal healing practices that are caring, ethical, and affirming to help us renew our souls and that provide mutual support, hope, and grace in these troubling times. Safe Black Space is that."

- Lilyane Glamben


What’s Been Done and What’s Next



Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles & Emotional Emancipation Circles in Sacramento, CA

Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles have been successful in addressing racial trauma caused by the Stephon Clark killing and offering support to participants locally in Sacramento.  These are being offered by request monthly in different locations (faith and community based organizations).

Approximately 25 volunteers have been trained to lead small group conversations for Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles. Components include African centered healing strategies (e.g. libation, drumming, etc.), mindfulness and other emotional self-care exercises.  We continue to expand our team of volunteers in order to build our capacity to respond to requests for healing circles upon demand.

Additionally, 35 EEC℠ Facilitators have been trained and will begin providing EECs℠ across Sacramento beginning in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. We believe a growing number of community members will benefit from moving beyond the introduction of the Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles into a deeper healing experience with the EECs℠.

For a listing of Emotional Emancipation Circles meetings currently being offered to the Sacramento community, please

click here


Future Safe Black Space Components

In the future, Safe Black Space will expand to include Safe Ally Space and Safe Black Green Space: Grandma’s Backyard described below.

Safe Ally Space—Helping All Communities to Understand and Heal (In Development)

Safe Ally Space is a learning environment for people who are committed to racial healing who do not identify as African American, but are committed to addressing racism, implicit bias, micro aggressions, and white privilege for personal transformation and social change.

Brave Space Cross-Racial Healing Circle: Everyone experiences the impact of racism, whether consciously or unconsciously.  These spaces invite people of all races/cultures/ethnicities to learn about and talk about the impact of racism and oppression and to begin to heal from it together.

Creating Racial Healing Circles:  We can all use a place to explore our feelings, deepen our understanding of this country’s history and current climate on our lives, and practice taking care of ourselves in order to heal. These circles provide professional learning experiences and training to those who desire to design and implement racial healing circles (e.g., Brave Spaces; Safe Black Spaces).

Safe Black Green Space: Grandma’s Backyard – A Safe Urban Green Space (In Development)

Grandma’s Backyard is a safe urban green space where artists, activists, clergy and the community at large can come to heal race-based trauma and build the beloved community. It will serve as a healing oasis for those needing a safe space to heal, chill, grow, and shine.  It will serve as a living memorial to Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed in his Grandma's Backyard -- leaving a deep wound in the African American community.  It will serve as a meeting ground for activists, artists and allies who need a peaceful green space that will provide them with a non-violent environment to co-create a city and a world that works for all. It will include: a Backyard Play Area; Labyrinth; Outdoor Meditation/Chill Pods; a Peace Garden and Water Feature, among other things.