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PACEsConnectionCommunitiesPhoenix Rising in Resilience (AZ)

Phoenix Rising in Resilience (AZ)

We are an online collaborative dedicated to raising awareness about ACEs, trauma-informed practice, and resilience-building in the greater Phoenix area. Given the unique history of this city and region, Phoenix Rising will explore personal and historical sources of trauma.

Welcome to Phoenix Rising in Resilience!



While this community page will often highlight, discuss and address issues related to transforming the Phoenix area when it comes to trauma awareness, in that context we will also focus on taking a deep dive on the issue of historical trauma. I am so pleased to act as the manager and champion for this new ACEs Connection community! 

We welcome members who may not be part of the Phoenix area, but wish to follow, and hopefully to contribute to this important topic! I LOVE that this online community can become a space to share our stories and research, develop an understanding and ultimately cultivate compassion to share with the world about Historical Trauma and its relationship to ACEs, in the particular context of the work we hope to spark in the Phoenix area. 


I would love to share with you why the topic of historical trauma is so important to me, and I encourage everyone that passes through this community to share your stories as well.

In the early 1900’s, deep in the state of Alabama, my great-aunt was lured into the back of a white man’s store. In defense of her womanhood, she grabbed an umbrella and nearly beat that man to death. It was that very night, under the protection of darkness that my great-aunt, with my grandfather in tow, escaped the south. Through epigenetics we know that he had children with the imprint of that violence, fear and alienation on his DNA. Our entire family unit has been affected by that single event.

In 2006, we moved to Arizona. My oldest son was 13 and going into high school. He was just at the stage of transitioning from cute chubby-cheeked boy to handsome young man. It was obvious that when in public he was perceived very differently from just a few months prior. During that first year in our new home state, my son was called the “N” word by a school employee, publicly accused of writing graffiti on a desk by his teacher, and falsely accused of stealing candy from Walmart. Each incident concluded with an apology and exoneration, but each incident also began influencing the brain of my impressionable son. We feared he would become the proverbial “angry black man.” As he grew older, his anxiety over law enforcement prevented him from driving a car. And long before our beloved Trayvon Martin, my son knew never to walk the streets with a hoodie on his head. Over 100 years later and the boy who escaped the south in the dead of night has a great-grandson accumulating ACEs for the same reasons.

My grandfather’s life was marked with various traumatic events. My son's life has been the accumulation of insidious circumstances that cause fear, anxiety, anger and an increased stress response in the body. Epigenetics shows us that my grandchildren could be BORN with a genetic disposition for anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD and an increased response to previous unencountered stimuli; which for a person of color can mean violent death. For how many more generations should this cycle continue?

Working in Indian Country, I witness the devastating expression of Historical Trauma through person after person carrying numerous ACEs and watching the effects on physical, psychological and spiritual health. Over the last several years, I’ve read Dr. Yehuda’s work on 2nd and 3rd generation Holocaust survivors and their struggle with depression, anxiety and PTSD. Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to talk about Historical Trauma in Ireland due to the Irish famine.

I envision this community as a platform  to tell the most painful or inspiring stories; a safe place to learn and share information, as well as discuss what does transformation and healing of historical, as well as interpersonal trauma look like.  

It is my great hope that we can also explore reconnection to culture and the marriage of traditional medicine and western medicine to heal Historical Trauma and ACEs.

Welcome and thank you for joining us!!! So much more to come…..

In Service,

Iya Affo

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