Roots Matter

Roots Matter


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 history and family members. Interrupting the transference of generational trauma through mourning, forgiveness, and prayers for healing accelerates the transference of generational resilience. Through celebration and blessing, the fortitude, courage, and determination in the family narrative moves current and future generations toward healing and wholeness. Roots Matter prunes the family tree of trauma, the silent, secret, and severed stories that stunt the growth of the family, and tends to family roots, fertilizing them with the recognition of the resilience, achievements, gifts, and talents of the ancestors, thus creating a healthier environment for future generations to flourish. ""In Roots Matter, Paula Owens Parker deftly uses the tool of genogram to explore the deep wounds and profound hopes systemic and chronic trauma bestow upon individuals and communities. She writes that she will focus on the historical horror of chattel slavery during a specific period of time (1619-1865) in Virginia. She does this, but much more. By careful research and with meticulous clarity, Parker creates a study that has relevance beyond the important trauma upon which she focuses. She then introduces, drawing upon the riches of cultural research and the resources of Christian faith, a practical program ('course') whereby the burden of generational and unspeakable loss is taken up toward the possibility of restored dignity, healing, reconciliation, and hope. Parker is wrestling, eloquently and profoundly so, with nothing less than transcendence."" --E. Carson Brisson, Associate Professor of Biblical Languages, Union Presbyterian Seminary; Associate Editor, ""Between Text and Sermon""; Essayist, FOCUS magazine Paula Owens Parker is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spiritual Formation at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, and Senior Program Developer, Roots Matter (, also in Richmond.

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