By Cori Lucas,
It takes a lot to be Black in Baltimore City; decades of disinvestment and underdevelopment have contributed to the stress and trauma that many Black residents are struggling with today. Add to this the grief due to gun violence, mass incarceration, maintaining employment, and underemployment—the list of hurdles are plentiful. When “everyday we must process and deal with layers of individual trauma on top of new mass racial traumas”, it’s nearly impossible to prioritize one’s own physical and mental well-being. Move and Still is here to remind everyone that you are your greatest asset. Move and Still is a mobile movement studio that visits communities throughout Baltimore to engage residents in movement exercises such as yoga and dance to heal the body and mind in order to combat the effects of traumas, disorders, and overwhelming stress. This organization seeks to “normalize self-care for Black and Brown bodies”, broadening their access to stress management techniques and tools. Move and Still exclusively employs people of Color to provide job opportunities for Black instructors who are striving to do the same!
Dominiece Clifton grew up with several sources of stress and trauma affecting her life. Her biological father was absent, and her mother in college, the parental distance left a void within her that she filled with food. This coping mechanism followed her through relationship turbulence, first-time parenthood, and an unfulfilling career life—through all of which she struggled with her health. Dominiece also lost her beloved grandmother to a brain aneurysm at the age of 50, spurred on by unmanaged stress. After learning to manage her own health and seeing the amazing effects, Dominiece got to work inspiring others to do the same. She’s started several wellness initiatives, the most recent being Move and Still established in early 2022.
A fully-funded Move and Still would see their mobile studios uplifting communities in other cities, then other states. They would be staffed by a knowledgeable, professional team fully composed of Black and Brown people that can guide others through holistic methods of healing and trauma recovery. They would also be able to partner with and bring their instruction to institutions such as schools, police stations and government organizations.
In addition to getting people moving, Dominiece is starting a conversation about the excessive levels of stress absorbed by Black bodies—exposing it as a common and widely unaddressed issue that doesn’t just disappear. “The reality is that stress, left untreated, turns into depression; and depression turns into addiction, over-eating, violence…”. Her organization Wellness Dom Mom specifically targets Black mothers and their unique hardships. She was recently awarded the first ever “We Got Your Back” award from CLLCTIVLY for her work. To learn more about Dominiece’s endeavors and initiatives, follow her @dominiecerclifton.