As I reflect on this year working with you, I’m not sure I expected to see a space for healing as an integral part of community. But that’s what Long Beach Community Acupuncture has become for me. This space on its own is a combination of chairs and concrete. But everyday, we come to this building and we talk about our pain, joy, sadness, fears, and the desire for balance or release. These rich conversations breathe life into this old building. And for these reasons we all have a stake in this community.
This was most apparent to me in the first month I spent with many of you. You welcomed me so warmly over and over again. And you all said the same thing “welcome to our community.” And it floored me. Looking at this moment through the lens of my previous career as an urban planner, I know that creating community is not an easy thing to do. So it has been profoundly important to me to honor and respect that sense of community and commitment you all feel in connection to your health and this space.
Community acupuncture is so wonderful and it has provided me the environment to extend the values I cultivated in my previous career into this work. As acu-punks we are committed to providing affordable and accessible care that cuts across race, gender, ethnicity, language, and sexuality. In this way, we come together to uphold the values of unity, equity, and justice—a radical act. This is what brought me to your community and to this type of practice.
On any given day, I am treating people of all walks of life, from women of color, to immigrants, to men, and limited English speakers, as well as people of differing ability, income, and class. It is beautiful to see you all lying there in your chairs side by side unified in your healing. And that is such a significant way for communities to heal.
Personally it has been such a joy and honor sharing space with all of you over this past year. I am so happy to be your community acu-punk. Cheers to the clinic and cheers to another year working together!