How Dream Defenders Cultural Organizer Airika J. Cross Is Bridging Mental Health And Activism

Dream Defenders x NewsOne

Source: iOne Digital Creative Services

Airika J. Cross, a cultural organizer with Dream Defenders, recently spoke to NewsOne about the vital role of mental health in activism and community empowerment.

Meet Airika J. Cross

Cross, a behavioral mental health technician in South Florida and a former educator with Broward County Public Schools, emphasized the importance of mental health within the movement space.

“Addressing mental health is critical in terms of the movement space and activism because the work that we do helps to elevate the mind, the body, the spirit, and the soul in order to affect change in our policies, our education, and how we create a better world for our future,” Cross explained.

Highlighted the Dream Defenders’ core principles of power, transformation and miracles, Cross continued.

“Focusing on mental health aspects in our communities helps us to transform not only hearts but also minds,” Cross added. “Being able to share that with others, that, ‘Hey, here’s a hand. Hey, let me show you what you are capable of, what you can do,’ and inspire them to help themselves and help others along the way.”

Dream Defenders

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Cross spoke passionately about the challenges faced by Black and brown communities., particularly in dealing with issues like homelessness, job loss and the death of loved ones.

“A lot of times we see those who are not able to bounce back from dealing with the issues that life throws at us,” Cross noted by stressing the importance of understanding and addressing generational trauma.

“We have to think about the past trauma that has been handed down to us through generation,” Cross added. “But it’s important that we address and understand those types of traumas so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.”

Cross placed an emphasis on learning from the experiences of ancestors and implementing necessary tools and resources to help communities heal and grow.

“We can put in place necessary tools and resources and emotional processes to address and also heal so that we pass on positive, powerful, and inspiring messages to those that we leave behind,” Cross concluded.

Who Are the Dream Defenders?

Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The group was marching and fighting for justice for Trayvon and so many like him.

To learn more about Cross and the work of Dream Defenders, we invite you to watch the video above.


Still On The Journey: The Women Who Are Defending Black America’s Freedom Dream

Reclaiming Journalism: Dream Defenders And NewsOne Announce Partnership For Media Justice

Stacey Abrams/ #TheBlackBallot

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The post How Dream Defenders Cultural Organizer Airika J. Cross Is Bridging Mental Health And Activism appeared first on NewsOne.

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