Early in her career, she recalls a pivotal moment: “I was sitting around a table, surrounded by people who did not look like me, who were trying to figure out how to help ‘these poor’ Black and Brown children. They spoke about our beautiful children as if they were defective and in dire need of salvation. They had no personal insight into how our children came to live in their neighborhoods, how their families struggled, or how their schools lacked the resources to provide them with a proper education.
“I knew that structural racism was alive and well; I have often witnessed its path of destruction, both personally and professionally.
“At that moment, I decided that I would not be a spectator watching others make decisions for our kids, our families, our community – so instead I stepped up and challenged the status quo.
“I refused to passively sit by one more day, as folks carelessly labeled our children – disenfranchised, troubled, at risk, noncompliant. I committed to being a disruptor who would educate and inform others about racism’s role in the collective traumatic experiences of diverse people. I committed to deepening my healing work with individuals to being an agent of systemic change for communities of color.
“I have been able to slowly dismantle racism with the support of allies who funded my work, the accomplices who lifted the Urban Trauma® framework, and advocates who secured my seat at the table. For all these reasons, Urban Trauma® framework and the Allyship Identity Model were born.”
Dr. Akbar is a board-certified clinical psychologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale University, School of Medicine. The CEO and founder of Integrated Wellness Group, a psychotherapy practice specializing in treating race-based trauma since 2008, Dr. Akbar also represents the American Psychological Association at the United Nations. Dr. Akbar lives in New Haven with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she engages in meditation and yoga practices focused on healing and liberation from race-based trauma.