Healing While Black celebrates Black joy during BIPOC Mental Health Awareness three-day summit

The Healing While Black ‘Liberated & Living Well’ kick-off event and three-day summit  — Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31 — will feature keynote speakers Dr. Learotha Williams, Dr. Shevaun Harris, Dr. Bahia Overton, and many more.  

ST. PETERSBURG – The Well and the University of South Florida Office of Multicultural Affairs and Family Study Center present Healing While Black “Liberated & Living Well,” three-day summit for community members, wellness providers, organizers, educators, artists, public officials, and other leaders.

Participants are invited to meet with inspiring presenters, hear leading-edge research and practice, and engage in wellness activities and celebrations throughout the weekend.

“This year, we’re celebrating Black joy, which includes the way that we name, seek, secure safety and live healthy and joyous lives,” shared Dr. LaDonna Butler, founder of The Well.

At the end of the weekend, she noted, “we will have affirmed [the] conviction that our stories matter, our strategies — with collective support — work and that we are worthy of investment. We are liberated and living well; we share a common commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our collective community.”

The target audience for this event is diverse individuals seeking mental health services, survivors, programming funders, elected officials, medical and wellness professionals, and community leaders. Attendees will learn about the latest research, have opportunities to engage with other professionals, share experiences and receive concrete takeaways to apply in multiple sectors.

The schedule is as follows:


“The State of Black Mental Health Discussion & Opening Reception: Toward Liberation and Living Well.” The Well for Life partners with Center for Wellness & Clinical Development to kick off the summit, featuring a welcome from city officials, followed by a paneled dialogue about Mental Health in the Black Community. (22 South Food Hall, 6-8 p.m.)

FRIDAY, July 29:

Day 1: Professional & Community Development Summit: Co-presented by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Office of Multicultural Affairs, this affirming summit will elevate the ways in which people (centering those who are Black) find, experience, and celebrate liberation and wellness. Whether in-person or online, we inspire transformative connections, critical dialogue, and celebrations that affirm that we, the COLLECTIVE, are truly #TheONE. (University of South Florida, St.  Petersburg Campus, 9-4 p.m.)

Experience NOIRE (The HeArt & Soul of Liberation): Concludes day 1 of the summit with the “Healing While Black All Black party.” Join us in-person for a night of art, conversation, dancing, and community. (22 South Food Hall, 8-Midnight)


Day 2: Collective Movement & Conversation: The “Deconstructed Series” is about the practical application of Friday’s learning. Includes The Blk Market & Community Festival in partnership with A Griot’s Corner, LLC; features a Brown Girl Brunch sponsored by The Woodson African American Museum of Florida (11-12:30 p.m.), and Books, Brothers and Bar-b-Que, Sponsored by the Eto Rho Omegas, Central Station Barbershop & The Barbershop Bookclub.

Join New Era Thinking for a Family Friendly Bikeride, as they “Heal the Hood,” departing at 6 p.m. for 22nd South Food Club. Enjoy the after-party at the Urban Drinkery, starting at 8 p.m.

Join the St. Pete Youth Farm for a community gathering in celebration of the BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month from 6-8:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, July 31

Day 3: A Celebration of Us: On Sunday morning, attendees can engage in mindfulness activities as an avenue to care for their spiritual wellness. (St. Pete Pier, 6-8:00 a.m.)

Keynote speakers:

  • Thursday, Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr. | Tennessee State University
  • Friday, Secretary Dr. Shevaun Harris | Florida Department of Children & Families
  • Bahia Overton, Executive Director, Black Parent Initiative & Executive Consultant Dr. Joy DeGruy Publication

Other speakers for the event include: 

  • Prentiss Haney | Community Organizing and Co-Executive Director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative
  • Eris Eady | Chief Equity & Learning Officer, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
  • Nathaniel Brown, Ph.D., CSWA | Lecturer of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Johns Hopkins University
  • Marcelline L. Girlie | Certified Family Practice and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • LaQuista Erinna, DBH, LCSW | Owner of THRIVE Behavioral Health and Consulting
  • Christopher M. Coon (“Coon the Poet”) | Spoken Word Artist, Youth Mentor and Advocate

The Well for Life, Inc. & New Visions of the Well are multi-modal institutions that provide clinical services, foster development and training for professionals and advocate for impactful policy.

Register for the Healing While Black Summit today! Attendees can register for the weekend’s events in two ways:

For more information, visit www.thewellforlife.org, email info@thewellforlife.org, or call (727) 401-0239.

The three-day event is presented in partnership with the Center for Wellness and Clinical Development, 22 South Food Hall, Deuces Live, A Griot’s Corner LLC, Green Book of Tampa Bay, St Petersburg Parks and  Recreation, and others; sponsors include Hillsborough Children’s Board, The Ohio State University Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, The Woodson African American Museum of Florida, The National Council of Negro Women, Pinellas Community Foundation, Creative Pinellas, Humana, and Maher Chevrolet.

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