The New Story Is with Dave Ursillo
Dismantling racism—through touch
Physical touch is crucial for healthy human development. Safe touch may be a key to living whole and well in our lifetimes. But what happens to those in our society who have been deprived of touch and conditioned against intimacy and connection?
Aaron Johnson (he/him) is a facilitator, public speaker, and touch specialist who says touch can help dismantle systems of oppression and racism. As the co-founder of Holistic Resistance and Grief to Action, two black-led organizations and movements, Aaron's work holds the trauma stories of Black people and strives to make touch a radical action to interrupt oppressive systems in modern American society. He is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and blends teaching, singing, photography, filmmaking, minimalism, and more to create intimate experiences of creativity to transcend oppressive forces.
In this interview, Aaron shares how touch facilitates a holistic connection with nature, ourselves, and one another. He says that being creative in our healing journeys is an antidote to oppressive forces, from internalized oppression to forceful repression in modern American society.
Aaron is also the creator of the Chronically UnderTouched (CUT) Project, an initiative to support Black men and People of the Global Majority—people of color—to access healthy, nourishing, platonic touch in a culture in the United States that denies access to touch.
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