Sheila Wise Rowe is a Christian counselor and spiritual director who recently published the book Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience. In her book, Rowe invites readers to consider “how to individually or collectively pursue healing from racial trauma” in order to remain resilient amid pervasive racial discrimination.
In the following Q&A with Faithfully Magazine, conducted via live Skype video, Rowe discusses her motivation for writing about a topic many “racial reconciliation” books overlook, why she believes racial healing ministries are a necessity for multiethnic churches, and more. The transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Numerous books on racial reconciliation have been published, but yours is the first I’ve read that dives into the deep inner-work that’s often first required before an individual can bring him/herself to a place of pursuing reconciliation. Why did you decide to take this particular approach of dealing head-on with racial trauma?
You know what, it really felt like a lot of the conversation around reconciliation was missing a piece, and the piece being that people of color are being traumatized. So Black, indigenous, other people of color who’ve been traumatized by racism, and that has not really factored into the conversation. So we continue to carry that into these reconciliation spaces. And we’re still carrying the hurt and the pain of that, and it’s ongoing. So it’s not even just that, you know, we were healed in the past and now we move forward and everything is fine. We continue to face racism and microaggressions, and so it interferes with the the process of reconciliation.