Healing Histories: Disrupting the Medical Industrial Complex with Susan Raffo

Join us on for the October Kaleo Express – Healing Histories with Susan Raffo!


All are welcome and registration is free. 

Wednesday, October 30th. Bagels, coffee, non-dairy treats, gluten-free delights, and good company starting at 8:30 a.m. Workshop from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30a.m

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (A pro-Queer, pr0-LGBT, progressive, multi-faith seminary.) 767 Eustis Street, Saint Paul. (See parking information below.)

What do we mean when we say “normal” in reference to a body? What do we mean when we say “healthy?” How do dominant forms of medical practice in the U.S. ask us to view our bodies as somehow potentially wrong, as somehow always in need of a “cure?” How are bodies of color, and especially Black and Native bodies expected to bear the violence of  a medical system built to correct any bodies that deviate from the norm, in a system that constantly creates and re-creates the norm as white and only white? What would be possible if we had other stories, other frameworks, other ways of knowing ourselves and our amazing, brilliant bodies?

For the past decade, healers and cultural workers Susan Raffo, Cara Page, and and Anjali Taneja have been working together to trace the timeline of the U.S. medical industrial complex. The timeline serves as a way of knowing where we have been, what has been lost and what has been found, so that we might build  frameworks for collective care and safety based in our shared connection and liberation. As healers, medical practitioners, organizers, media makers, and cultural and memory workers, Cara and Susan and Anjali are working to show how, from the beginnings of the institution of colonization & slavery, the state has systematically determined who is “normal,” “healthy,” “diseased,” and “dangerous” as a way of determining access to its rights and benefits. How then, might we strengthen our alternatives to those institutions, and how might we claim and teach and learn and live with the practices of something otherwise. The timeline project exists as a set of emerging partnerships that exist to revision, remember, and recreate the practices that support our individual and collective healing and resilience and that are grounded in our shared liberation. This project and the people who make this project possible come together to dream of revolution, one body at a time.

Join Susan Raffo, Kaleo Center, and our fantastic community on Wednesday, October 30th for the very first interactive active public workshop about this project in its current form. We’re so excited for you to be part of it.

We would love for you to come on the 30th. REGISTER HERE!

Feel free to come late and leave early – we know that folks have lives that do not always run in straight lines. Children welcome!

United is fully accessible to power-chairs, has gender-neutral and single stall bathrooms, and is located close to buses and light rail.

If you have access needs, please contact Kaleo Associate Director at Liz@kaleo.center so that we can accommodate you. We will be live-streaming the event for people who aren’t able to be there in person.


Please park in the south lot at the corner of Wabash and Eustis Streets. You will see a large metal structure in the parking lot, and a large “CASE” sign over the main entrance doors. You will *not* see a sign for United Theological Seminary. Once you come in the building, walk straight ahead past the various creative iterations of tables, couches, past the workspaces under construction, and past the whimsical indoor lawn games, and look for the “United Theological Seminary” sign. Enter the door underneath the sign, and follow the internal directions to the chapel.


ABOUT Susan Raffo

In 2009, I attended the Healing Justice space at the US Social Forum in Atlanta and it changed my life. For the first time I found movement people,  social justice people, who were  interested in the places where systems of power and oppression were held in the tissues of the individual body as well as within systems and communities. I am interested in work that refuses to separate how we individually connect with life from how we collectively claim our lives. I work towards the end of the medical industrial complex and want to lift up practices and traditions that have been co-opted or forced into disappearance.  I have worked collaboratively on workshops applying body and movement practice to collective movement building.

I have worked as a bodyworker since 2005. For the last five years, I have been part of the People’s Movement Center. Our focus has been on the healing in justice and the justice in healing and we center the lives and experience of people of color, indigenous folks, queer and trans people. In 2019, we closed down the PMC space but plan on continuing some of our shared work. I am also a writer. I edited  the book Queerly Classed from South End Press, and have contributed essays and writing to multiple anthologies including the recent Walk Towards It: an anthology of urgent writing, lists to remember, love letters to carry with you. I have a blog that focuses on organizing, healing justice, and movement work.

My ancestral lineages represent the colonizer and the colonized. I am descended from southern and western european people and from people native to this land. I spend a lot of time talking with and learning from all of my ancestors. I am a queer woman on the other side of menopause who was raised white and uses she/her pronouns. I come from a mixed class background. I am currently able-bodied but have been in family with and continue to be in family with people living with disabilities. As a bodyworker, I feel pretty fiercely (and oh how many mistakes I make) about constantly uprooting ableism in this work. I am a mother, oh how I love being a mother. And I love the butch Brazilian woman I’ve lived with for a quarter of a century. I believe that identity is not an individual thing but a collective thing, meaning, my identities are as much about the people I share them with as it is about the things I tell you, here, on this page.


Calling Forth

Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice & Social Transformation offers a home for movement-building where our spiritual practices meet our work for justice and where our work for justice meets our diverse faith traditions. We nourish relationships that honor and include our full spiritual selves. We convene spaces that invest in community across tradition and belief, and we organize with that community to take public action towards collective liberation.

Currently, Kaleo Center lives out our vision in three ways:

  1. We organize people across diverse faith traditions and communities of spiritual practice to act in meaningful solidarity with front-line local and national organizing for justice and liberation.
  2. We work in multiple settings to train leaders across diverse faith traditions and communities of spiritual practice in practices of community organizing and social transformation.
  3. We convene  a national field of social transformation within seminary education that fosters innovation and creativity for a new generation of spiritually-grounded movement makers.

Our work is possible because of the generosity and commitment of our donors. Thank you for making sure that we can continue to act boldly in the world towards justice. Become a Kaleo donor here!

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