Healing Generations Community Research 

Since 2017, Healing to Action has partnered with community organizations and survivors across Chicago to create and pilot Healing Generations, a grassroots leadership development program designed by and for survivors. In sharing the development, implementation, and lessons learned from Healing Generations, this report provides specific grassroots strategies, rooted in the experiences and creativity of survivors, to reduce gender-based violence in communities most impacted. In May of 2021, Healing to Action hosted a virtual event spotlighting the findings of their report. 

Healing Generations Community-Led Program Design

To design Healing Generations, HTA used a method called concept mapping, a participatory, mixed-methods research process. Sixty-nine survivors from across Chicagoland provided key insights that shaped the priorities and content of the program. Major themes included:

  • The need for intergenerational approaches to addressing gender-based violence, including a deeper understanding of LGBTQ identity among adult participants.

  • The difficulty of bringing survivors to a program specifically focused on gender-based violence due to social stigma.

  • The importance of incorporating healing justice into political education to ensure that survivors could sustain their leadership.

Based on the information collected, HTA designed and piloted Healing Generations in October 2018, and offered a second cohort in June 2020. Seventeen leaders participated in each cohort, and graduates included survivors from Latinx, API, Black, immigrant, indigenous, and survivors with disabilities.

The curriculum contained healing and relationship-building activities, political education about the origins and root causes of gender-based violence, skills to combat gender-based violence in participants’ communities, and organizing and advocacy training.