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The Combahee River Collective

Found Inspiration is a series inspired by a prompt at the start of our meetings where we invite therapists to share an unconventional not explicitly therapy-related influence on their clinical practice. We’ve found that when your experiences aren’t reflected in academic settings and literature, and when you expand your understanding of mental health care beyond a medical model to one of healing, meaning-making and connection, you have to build your own canon.

The Combahee River Collective, named for a resistance action led by Harriet Tubman in 1863 that resulted in freedom for 750 enslaved people, was a group that described themselves as feminist, lesbian and socialist. They composed The Combahee River Collective Statement, an essential Black feminist document which planted the seeds for what we know as intersectionality and introduced the term “identity politics” into social justice vocabulary. The document makes the plain, though revolutionary, statement that “Black women are inherently valuable.” And while the statement calls for solidarity, it is also a reminder that while we have had support from accomplices, Black women also know “that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us.” We got us.