Community Partner Article:
Cory Johnson Program:
Coping in this Season of COVID-19
The Cory Johnson Program for Post-Traumatic Healing (CJP) is a spiritually inspired, community-based, clinically supported program that addresses the epidemic of post-traumatic stress in urban neighborhoods including exposure to violence, poverty, and racism.
CJP was created in 2014 as an independent 501(c)(3) offering monthly community conversations called Can We Talk?. People share their stories of violence in the home and street, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, bullying, job loss, betrayal, and racism. They also share stories of hope, healing, and growth. As people talk and listen to each other in a safe and consistent space, they overcome a sense of isolation, and reconnect to their community, and themselves, which are main aspects of the trauma healing process. And they are never alone. Our CJP Community Companions, many trauma survivors themselves, are trained in trauma-informed support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for our program greater than ever. We now meet virtually every week offering “drop-in” trauma/mental health support for all who need it with special programs for men in recovery, and mothers who have lost children. We stay in close contact with neighbors through a mix of phone, Zoom, and social distance meetings. When needed, we also provide our neighbors with Uber/Lyft transportation to doctor and other appointments. With the help of major health institutions like Boston Medical Center, we can provide more advanced mental health support for those who need it.
As a special part of our trauma education, we started a town hall series called “Coping in this season of COVID-19” with a focus on helping the community gather information about the pandemic and the vaccines. In the first installment of the series, in November 2020, Rev. Liz Walker and Rev. Gloria White-Hammond interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci as well as former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Since the “Coping” series began, we have hosted five town halls with more than 5000 registrants. This series has reaffirmed the need for an informed public.
Watch our “Coping in this season of COVID-19” series by clicking on the links below:
Watch our conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD and Mayor Marty Walsh : https://youtu.be/1h4fUuHYUkY
Watch our conversation with Dr. Barney Graham, MD, PhD, Dr. Sabrina Assoumou, MD, MPH, and Dr. Simone S. Wildes, MD: https://youtu.be/rb0_5eh3HuI
Watch our conversation with Lillie Tyson Head (Daughter of Freddie Lee Tyson), Carmen J. Thornton (Granddaughter of Freddie Lee Tyson), Dr. Betty Neal Crutcher, MD (Niece of Freddie Lee Tyson), Dr. Alice Coombs, MD, and Dr. Simone S. Wildes, MD: https://youtu.be/18nschFiu2c
Watch our conversation with Community Academy of Science and Health’s high school students: https://youtu.be/ls-tZk8P4dI
The Cory Johnson Program is founded on the belief that mental health is a social justice issue. We will continue to address inequities in mental health care in the Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and other neighborhoods of Boston; mobilizing our community and allies, with information about the very real and destructive threat of trauma, and ways to cope. We are honored to serve our community and to help heal our world.
Reverend Liz Walker
Pastor & Executive Director, Roxbury Presbyterian Church Social Impact Center
Development Associate, Cory Johnson Program for Post-Traumatic Healing