UCLA to host ‘healing retreat’ for ‘social justice' advocates

UCLA will host a “healing retreat” for student “social justice advocates” this Saturday, complete with “aromatherapy” and “therapeutic creative writing” activities. 

ReTREAT Yo’Self will be an all-day retreat for “student leaders of color and allies,” and is organized by the Intergroup Relations Program at the University of California-Los Angeles, which aims to educate students on prejudice reduction, social justice, and multicultural education. 

”Our purpose is to provide a positive and collaborative space for student leaders of color and allies to decompress and recenter themselves so that they may continue to do important work in their communities,” the retreat description notes. 

[RELATED: Students ‘who value social justice’ offered privilege retreat]

While the retreat is open to all, students must RSVP by filling out an application that asks questions such as, “How do you practice social justice in your life?” and “What are some of the social, political, or cultural identities you hold that are salient to you?”

The application also asks students to identify their “gender pronouns,” explaining that pronouns are a “way of referring to someone in third person” and providing a link to a resource page for those who need more information about pronouns in order to answer.

The retreat will feature “a series of workshops (e.g. aromatherapy, dance, therapeutic creative writing) led by community members from the Los Angeles area that promote self-wellness and relaxation,” the description notes. 

“Together, we hope to unearth a collective understanding that we must love and care for ourselves first. As Maya Angelou said, nothing works unless you do,’” it adds. 

[RELATED: Public university to host retreat solely for ‘Women of Color’]

The retreat is just one of many social justice programs that the Intergroup Relations Program offers, such as a “Diversity Peer Leaders” program, which is currently hiring students at $13 an hour to design and facilitate diversity promotion workshops for peers. 

Though the incoming cohort of Diversity Peer Leaders may work on different programming than previous cohorts, the application indicates that prior programming has addressed “toxic masculinity,” “addressing microaggressions,” and “art-based dialogue.” 

UCLA also funds a similar program for “Social Justice Advocates,” who are paid an undisclosed amount to facilitate programming to fight issues such as “whiteness, patriarchy and heteronormativity,” as Campus Reform has reported. 

Campus Reform reached out to UCLA for comment on how reTREAT Yo’Self and the Diversity Peer Educator program is funded, but did not receive a response in time for publication. UCLA also has declined multiple opportunities in the past to clarify how the Social Justice Advocates program is funded. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen