During the pandemic, Brennan Steele decided to pen a self-care journal called “breathe. a guided healing journal for black men.”
The Memphis-based educator who initially searched for self-help books to record his “feelings and thoughts” noticed that the majority of them were not geared toward Black men, according to Local abc 24’s news report. Steele felt compelled to write his own. Now, Black men are encouraging others to give the journal a try.
As I continue my journey to healing mentally, emotionally, & physically, I wanted to share this journal that has been beneficial!
From one black man to another, this could help!
Breathe by Brennan Allan Steele
Have a GREAT MORNING Kings! pic.twitter.com/PQUjeL8GvA
— joseline’s hat maker. (@MaalikFalsetto) March 25, 2021
Steele published the book at a time when many people began feeling the weight of stress and heavy social justice issues.
“I think 2020 hit with a lot of different circumstances,” Steele said to Local abc 24. “You had the pandemic. You had the racial unrest with the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The list goes on throughout the summer, and it was all hitting at once.”
The idea to provide a space for Black men to “breathe” is also catching on. Steele’s ‘Breathe, Brotha’ Instagram account’ provides “therapists, educators and social workers are using the tool online an in their own lives, creating a bigger conversation for Black men to speak up, seek help, and breathe,” according to the news report.
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Similarly, Hafeez Baoku, who is an author, director and host of The Roommates Podcast wrote a blog post for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) about “how Black men grow up in culture that tells men that they are not supposed to cry.” He is also using his platform to support others in the Black community and address the negative stigma linked to seeking help for mental health needs.
Steele mentioned his struggle with racial trauma after hearing about recent, highly publicized murders of Black people and how it clashed with the “expectations we place on masculinity,” he told Choose 901.
Although he began overcoming masculinity challenges, he “didn’t want to process or emote in a way that would be deemed threatening,” according to the interview.
“I see breathe as the restorative work for black men who weren’t given the tools to process the world around them as black boys. As such, my job as a teacher every day must be taking part in the preventive work of building up the mental and emotional wellness of all of my students, but especially my black boys,” Steele also said to Choose 901.
Click here to find Steele’s journal on Amazon.