About Just Healing
Just Healing was created with the purpose of fostering healing through community collaboration, community connection, and intercultural development, while elevating awareness and supports to social justice issues. As a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner for over three years, plus over 7 years of community engagement and government systems work, founder, Aherlow Kasjaka (formerly Bianca A. Smith), has seen the benefits of fostering healing and community in social justice work.
This work can be a very painful journey because it is rooted in the trauma of our intersectional lived experiences and generational trauma. In a world where mental health care is still taboo and inequitably accessible to all, this work needs to be approached with tremendous care. As healer, New York Times Best-Selling author, and trauma specialist, Resmaa Menakem, states in his article White Body Supremacy as a Trauma Response, "We already know that what we’ve been doing to counter white-body supremacy isn’t working. If we are to upend the status quo of white-body supremacy, we must take a different approach. We — and by 'we' I mean people of all skin tones, but especially folks with white bodies— need to begin with our bodies, and with the healing of our trauma."
The supports of Just Healing are designed to work in concert with one another to support the healing and growth of individuals while also working towards changing systems and sustaining these changes through cultural shifts. Aherlow takes a compassionate and collaborative approach to their work. Every person's place in their DEI and healing journey is valid. It takes courage to allow those who want to help us grow, stand by our side while we deepen our journey. Aherlow incorporates music, art, breathwork and mindfulness techniques into their facilitation and coaching to create a supported space for growth.
Some of the services and supports offered include:
Coordinated events and retreats to support community wellness and raise funds for organizations supporting social justice
DEI workshops and organizational consultation
DEI learning communities and accountability groups for white folks
Intercultural Development Inventory assessments and coaching
Check out the "Events" & "Services" pages to learn more and get pricing information.
Aherlow is also connected to a network of other DEI practitioners who have more expert knowledge and experience in certain areas of DEI. For example, Aherlow recommends working with BIPOC DEI practitioners for more comprehensive education and support regarding BIPOC racialized experiences. As a white-bodied person, Aherlow is knowledgeable and experienced in providing education and support on these topics, but lacks lived experience that is beneficial to leading these conversations--with BIPOC folks, especially. There are, however, benefits to white practitioners working with other white folks on navigating racialized experiences. Let Aherlow know if you are interested in getting a referral to BIPOC DEI practitioners and healers.
More than 50% of the proceeds received from Just Healing services and book sales are donated to non-profit organizations that support and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, and/or environmental justice.
Aherlow (they/he), Founder & Director
Aherlow B Kasjaka (formerly Bianca A. Smith) is a white, able-bodied, neurodivergent, queer trans nonbinary person. Throughout their life, Aherlow recognized the pivotal impacts physical and mental health played in theirs and their family's lives. This led them down a path towards leadership in food justice and public health initiatives as a registered dietitian. In their work, Aherlow has fought to enhance children's access to healthy food and has helped institutions build healthier environments that promote environmental sustainability. The majority of Aherlow's work for the state has centered around community building, collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and facilitation. Aherlow also does volunteer work with a local non-profits as an event planner and producer and art curator.
As a close witness to homophobia, addiction, domestic abuse, and mental health challenges throughout their life, Aherlow recognized their own embodied generational trauma and understood the importance of creating a world where everyone can feel the healing sense of belonging. They recognized they could use their strength from their unconventional life experience as an opportunity to amplify issues in the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as other social justice issues, through their work and their writing. Three years ago, they pivoted in their career towards health equity work in public education and public health. They center their work on relationship building, listening to those most marginalized by systems of oppression, and advocacy through policy and systems change.
They also express their activism through their writing. In 2020, they published modern fiction novel, Triangle, a story about a queer woman's journey towards self-love and healing. As a queer person who struggled to find safety in the world and within themself, they wanted to represent the experiences of those who come out later in life through this fictional story.