Dear TRHT Chicago Community,

With a heart full of gratitude, I share the news that my season as the Executive Director of TRHT Chicago has concluded. The journey we’ve shared has been nothing short of miraculous, and I want to express my deepest thanks to each and every one of you who has committed to healing yourself and who have helped others in our city heal.

Now is my time to reflect and rest. I am reminded of the blessings and dreams passed down through my Abuelas, shaping us into the healers we are today. Our ancestors, in their wisdom, guided us to this work and nurtured a space for us to come together. In this community, we have remembered the true essence of who we are – healers healing on a shared path of love, transformation, and joy!

It has been an incredible journey that started in 2019, when I was hired as the inaugural executive director, with 1 year of funding and less than 10 practitioners. Over the last four and a half years, we have achieved remarkable milestones – touching the hearts and minds of almost ten thousand people, empowering over four hundred racial healing practitioners, and mobilizing over four million dollars while increasing the endowment to almost $1.5M. All in service to strengthen our community’s capacity for racial healing and transformation. The impact we’ve made is evident in the spaces we’ve created for repair, restoration, and transformation by individuals, communities, and organizations.

The vision I shared with the leadership advisory council of TRHT, was that we will be successful when we bring together healers, curanderas, racial equity practitioners, storytellers, circle keepers, everyone that have been healing in our hoods for years and create the space to come together and increase our collective capacity for transformation using Dr. Gail Christopher’s teachings. Our first gathering in the winter of 2019, was the first step of bringing over 100 hood and professional healers together. The TRHT framework provided us with a strategy to go deeper into a healing and equity practice and connect TRHT with existing efforts in our communities. It also made it possible to identify similar efforts across communities and sectors, birthing the Solidarity Circles and Truth, Healing and Equity Fellowship and Racial Healing Certification program at City Colleges of Chicago.

You, each one of you, are the vessels of this movement, and I am forever grateful for the love, peace, and purpose you gave me and our TRHT community. The friendships, love, solidaruty and weight we lifted from thousands of people during the lethal and isolating pandemic was life changing. Your commitment to being there for others and providing space for us to grieve the murders of our people was heroic. We answered the call of BIPOC employees in organizations that were sometimes toxic and created affinity spaces where ones did not exist. Oftentimes this created a bond between people that exists to this day. Our ability to respond, to hold space and to build as our community was under racist attacks deserves recognition. It will be a testament to what we know- that we are made for these times. I am confident that our bond will endure, and together we will continue to build, love, and find joy in a world that challenges us to conform to hierarchies, be silent, and forget our true selves.

I cannot express this enough, I extend my deepest appreciation for the profound impact you have had on my life and the lives of countless others. Let us carry forward the torch of love, trust, and healing that Dr. Gail Christopher entrusted us into the next chapter of our journey. It’s up to us, the hundreds of racial healing practitioners, to continue our practice of storytelling, sharing a future without hierarchies and binaries, of not accepting business as usual and expanding our circle of trust building. No one knows that better than we do, that this is where the magic happens. Our capacity to heal and transform is only as strong as its practitioners, their leadership, and their practice. This is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our work. I leave proud, grateful, and blessed.

My next step is to take my son, Tizoc, to a healing retreat in our motherland and continue to teach him my practices. I’m looking forward to the next cycle of our journey together upon my return as a healing practitioner, friend, and co-conspirator. If you would like to stay in community with me, please fill this out and I will send you updates. I am ready to step firmly into what I know is my destiny. Together, we will continue to build our collective work that has allowed us to reshape the narrative of healing and solidarity in Chicago.

With love and gratitude,
Jose A. Rico
Founding Executive Director TRHT Chicago