UNC event repeats notion of fighting racism through 'self-care'

During a virtual event at the University of North Carolina, professors spoke of using “rest” and “radical self-care” to fight racism.

This event is the latest phenomenon in a trend of academics encouraging students to use rest as a weapon against injustice.

During a University of North Carolina event, professors spoke of using “self-care” and “rest” to fight racism.

The school’s 42nd annual “Minority Health Conference” — which carried the theme “Body & Soul: The Past, Present and Future of Health Activism” — hosted several professors who claimed that rejuvenating oneself is essential to the work of activism.

The Daily Tar Heel — the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina — quoted the highlights of the event.

“Rest is resistance,” said Sharrelle Barber of Drexel University, a social epidemiologist who carries out research through a “structural racism lens.”

“Radical self-care is not a luxury,” she added.

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“There is much to fix, but there are still only 24 hours in a day, and you cannot pour from an empty cup,” explained Kauline Cipriani, who addresses “diversity, equity and inclusion challenges” within the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Activism can only be sustained when it stems from an overflow, and overflow comes from radical self-care.”

As Campus Reform previously reported, La Salle University canceled classes so that students could fight racism through rest.

[RELATED: Want to fight racism? According to one university, cancel classes and take a nap.]

The university’s “Rest as Resistance” day aspired “to give members of the La Salle community a respite from those days’ classes, coursework, and schedules while offering opportunities to explore important topics like anti-racism and showcase academic projects.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of North Carolina for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft