Roots Matter recognizes the impact of transgenerational trauma, as a result of chattel slavery, on the African American community. It emphasizes the importance of discovering the silent stories—those that were overlooked and ignored; unearthing the secret stories—those that were intentionally covered up; and being attentive to the reverberations of the severed stories of slavery and how they influence family members and their historical narrative. Interrupting the transference of generational trauma through awareness, storytelling, mourning, and prayer accelerates the conveyance of intergenerational resilience. Through celebration and blessing, the fortitude, courage, and determination recognized in the ancestral chronicles moves current and future generations toward healing and wholeness. Roots Matter prunes the family tree of trauma, silent, secret, and severed stories that stunt the growth of its descendants. Tending to the roots and fertilizing them with the recognition of the agency, achievements, abilities, and talents of the ancestors creates a healthier environment for future progeny to flourish.
Paula Owens Parker is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spiritual Formation at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, VA, and Senior Program Developer, Roots Matter LLC (www.rootsmatterllc.com), also in Richmond.