University holds healing circles amid protests

by Devin Whatley, Arts & Culture Editor

As nationwide protests continue in response to the killing of George Floyd, San Diego State University is holding healing circles for students, faculty and staff. 

University Senate Vice Chair and Associate Professor in Counseling and School Psychology Nola Butler-Byrd hosted the first of three virtual meetings on Zoom this Monday.

Students, faculty and staff members moved to breakout rooms where they were able to discuss their reactions to the death of Floyd and the protests. After smaller discussions took place the participants regrouped to share their thoughts. 

Students and staff from the department of Counseling and School Psychology served as moderators of the breakout groups to allow everyone fair participation.

Butler-Byrd said the healing circles provide people with a safe outlet to voice their thoughts on a variety of issues.

“(Healing circles) would help people be real about what’s going on as well as give them a sense of connection and compassion, and a place to feel some of their feelings around these issues,” Butler-Byrd said.

English senior and Associated Students Board of Directors Student at Large Ashley Tejada said the healing circle made her realize the importance of channeling privilege into change.

This healing circle reminded me of the many privileges I have, and it further motivated me to channel this privilege into change, especially within my prospective spaces,” she said. 

Butler-Byrd said she hopes the chance to connect with one another will help teach participants empathy and compassion.

“I hope they take away a sense of humanity,” she said. “We tend to not see each other as being fully human, and we forget what it feels like to be fully human. I think it helps us to have more empathy for other people and compassion for ourselves.”

Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer J.Luke Wood hopes the healing circles and other events can give members of the SDSU community an opportunity to heal and take action.

“What we wanted to do was provide an opportunity for people in our community to be able to come together and to also have the product of that be both healing, and action,” he said.

Butler-Byrd will host two more healing circles on June 2 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In order to access the meetings, viewers must sign in with their SDSU Zoom account.

For more information about future meetings and other events, visit SDSU’s twitter