Strategies That Disrupt Dehumanization

Reclaiming Our Humanity

Children of color are sacred, possessing intellect, curiosity, innovation, and creativity. However, they navigate a world that dehumanizes them in most of the spaces they occupy. Society questions their innocence and hampers their potential simply because they exist.

Forward Promise’s Dehumanization Framework identifies dehumanization as the foundation for systemic racism, racial trauma, and toxic stress for people of color in both historical and contemporary contexts. This seminal work both identifies dehumanization as the foundation for racism and advances solutions for reclaiming our humanity using healing practices rooted in culture.

What Do We Mean by "Heal, Grow, Thrive?"


Healing is recognizing trauma.

Young people of color are deserving of health. When their traumas are not addressed, their health decreases. Healing occurs when they are provided with safe spaces to unpack their experiences and understand that their traumas are not their fault.


Growing is rejecting dehumanizing narratives.

Young people of color grow when they increase their knowledge about their histories and why the problems of dehumanization and racism exist. Armed with truthful information, they are better able to reject harmful narratives about themselves. This self-awareness helps them to harness their power in all areas of their lives and refrain from internalizing racial trauma and toxic stress.



Thriving is expanding personal health into community health.

As young people resist harmful narratives and actions, tell their own stories, and experience wellness by standing in their power, they turn their attention to empowering their community to do the same.