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Near the spot of a Richmond mass shooting, a healing circle aims to create change

'Plant seeds for healing, plant seeds for unity, plant seeds for change'
Near the spot of a mass shooting, a healing circle aims to create change
Posted at 10:50 PM, Jul 07, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Near the spot where a father and son were killed following a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond last month, a citywide healing circle took place.

Initiatives of Change and Drums No Guns organized Friday night's event in Monroe Park, across from the Altria Theater.

Dr. Ram Bhaghat, one of the organizers, said they wanted to create sacred safe spaces in places where violence, like the June 2023 mass shooting, has occurred.

“Once the gunshots stop, the trauma doesn’t stop,” Bhaghat said.

Near the spot of a mass shooting, a healing circle aims to create change

The healing circle started with drumming and songs meant to bring strangers together.

The rhythms, Bhaghat said, help people to connect with each other as they break down barriers.

Following the music came prayer and deep dialogue in small groups.

“It’s a way to cultivate the soil, plant seeds for healing, plant seeds for unity, plant seeds for change,” he said.

Dr. Ram Bhaghat
Dr. Ram Bhaghat

They hope these circles created bonds that community members will use to heal and to hope.

“We need to do something positive to reach out to them and let them know that there is an opportunity and place where they can share their stories and be heard,” he said.

Near the spot of a mass shooting, a healing circle aims to create change

These organizations have planned other “I am here citywide healing circle” events in communities across Richmond for the last several years.

They hope to expand healing in this format across the state.

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