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Inspirations and Interconnections

We, as the DARA Collective, trust the joy and the fullness of freedom that we experience as we co-create communities of resistance. Our work is only possible in the reflection of our ancestors who knew, that harvest time, meant feasting time. We too, as the DARA Collective, know that our work is only possible in the ruckus and the rubbling of beautiful troublemakers coming together, sharing and communing, connecting and inspiring one another into the decolonial futures that we need and deserve. In our insistence to interconnect, we invert the competitive and isolating environments that characterize the neoliberal academy and colonial university. DARA Collective thrives only because of this forest of decolonial solidarity - Global South scholar activists, People of Color and allies in academia resisting together and apart - across our struggles, our borders, and our institutions. 

Below, in no particular order, are a few of our beloved friends and inspirations with their names, photos, and links to their works and websites. Let us honor our friends and decolonial loves. We are enchanted by your overwhelming brilliance. 

We are graced by your offer of community. We are joyfully entangled in your webs of justice. Your eyes say to us: 

...this riot, this rhythm, this stone, tethered together we are a home...   


Dr. Ibrahim Makkawi

Communities and movements transnationally concerned with liberation and decolonization lost a leader, teacher, mentor, and dear friend when Dr. Ibrahim Makkawi passed away, and began his transition as ancestor on February 9th, 2022. Dr. Makkawi remains an inspiration to us at the DARA Collective, at the highest level. He was a Palestinian psychologist who, in the traditions of Frantz Fanon, Ignacio Martín-Baró, and others, resisted whitestream theories and practices in psychology, underscoring the importance of critical theorizing and revolutionary relationalities with communities on the frontlines of colonial violence. Dr. Makkawi created psychology curricula grounded on Palestinian community knowledges and connections, inspired by decolonial approaches across the Global South.  We remember Dr. Makkawi each and every day, and we seek to honor how he has laid down the foundations for our own decolonial praxes to flourish. We love and miss you, dear Ibrahim. الله يرحمه


Dr. Ester R. Shaprio

Dr. Shapiro is professor emeritus of the Psychology Department at University of Massachusetts Boston. During her time at UMass Boston, Dr. Shapiro directed the Health Promotion Research group, which used ecosystemic models and multi-method research to partner with individuals and communities most directly impacted by social inequality to identify culturally meaningful resources for health promotion, resilience and recovery. Dr. Shapiro is author of the book entitled, Grief as a Family Process: A Developmental Approach to Clinical Practice. We, at DARA Collective, are deeply inspired by Dr. Shapiro's way of supporting students in bringing their full selves to their educational journeys. Dr. Shapiro worked tirelessly throughout her career tomake space for students' subjectivities to rise. Dr. Devin Atallah, a current leader of DARA Collective, was one of those students. In many ways, our DARA Collective lives in Dr. Shapiro's intergenerational, legacy space. We are inspired by Dr. Shapiro's cooking praxis, and her rehumanizing way of seeing students with an intergenerational lens - and with an openness to be courageously sentipensante - to hold radical thinking, emotionality, and love so deeply, with such grace and generosity. We are honored to hold Dr. Shapiro up high in our work, aspiring towards her fierce moral center and anti-racism feminist praxis. Te queremos mucho Ester.


Dr. Karen L. Suyemoto

Dr. Suyemoto is Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Asian American Studies and Critical Ethnic and Community Studies programs program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her professional activities are primarily guided by her commitment to contributing to social justice and empowering those who have been oppressed, marginalized, or silenced. She is particularly interested in how people resist racism and promote equity and justice, individually or through education or community interventions. Dr. Suyemoto inspires us at the DARA Collective to enact solidarity, and to find pathways towards justice and activism in our relationships and institutions, despite the odds. Dr. Suyemoto is an inspiration to us in so many ways, including how she dedicates the depth of her praxis to her students, and to guiding new generations of scholars, activists, and practitioners of color and allies at the highest level. You are so deeply appreciated Karen!


Dr. Urmitapa Dutta

Dr. Urmitapa Dutta is an awe-inspiring, radical accomplice and accompaniment practitioner with us at DARA Collective. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology and a leader of the Decolonial Research Collective (DRC) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Dutta seeks to understand and disrupt normalized everyday violence, working with the Miya Community Research Collective in Northeast India, focusing on (co)creating communities of resistance and care against coloniality and state violence. We, as the DARA Collective, are overjoyed to be in community with Dr. Dutta and her DRC team at UMass Lowell and the Miya Community in Northeast India. With great humility, we learn, and we shift together with Dr. Dutta and her teams. We grow and we are guided by her work and her brilliance. Together we co-create spaces of learning and livability with our communities and our students, dreaming decolonial worlds into existence. Thank you for your continual care and accompaniment dear Urmi!

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Dr. Hugo Canham

Dr. Hugo Canham is an Associate Professor of Psychology at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. We, as DARA Collective are humbled by our interconnection and solidarity praxis that we are co-building with dear Dr. Canham. Dr. Canham's work focuses on decolonial processes and phenomenology of living at the margins. His current work explores the riotous deathscapes that characterise a collection of villages in South Africa where he was raised. Dr. Canham continually gifts us at DARA Collective his incredible presence of spirit. Together, we share strategies of care - sharing maps as cartographies of love that evade whiteness while inviting solidarity.   Thank you dear Hugo, for being you...


Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a professor and Lawrence D Biele Chair in Law at the Institute of Criminology and a Faculty of Law in the School of Social Work and Social Welfare at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is the author of Militarization and Violence against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: A Palestinian Case-Study, and of Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear, and she just published a new book entitled: Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding. Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a great inspiration in our Palestinian traditions of decolonial love and resistance, leading by example with the depth of wisdom and her writing praxis - her pen sharpened by her daily footsteps in Jerusalem - by her daily dignity and brilliance. I am so often left speechless when I encounter her writings, her teachings, and her courage. So much of our work in DARA Collective is made possible by the paths that Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian has left to us, each time she evades conquest by colonizers at her doorstep. Each time she delights in her interconnections with community members, students, patients, and activists alike. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, sometimes reminds us of Audrey Lorde, or bell hooks, or Frantz Fanon in how her work offers such profound counterspaces towards liberation.  Keep writing, keep flying high, and stay sumoud dear Nadera.... 


Dr. Tahirah Abdullah

Dr. Abdullah is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Abdullah's research team at UMass Boston is entitled: the Black Mental Health Advocacy and Research Lab, which focuses on engaging in outreach, advocacy, and research in an effort to improve mental health and mental health treatment for Blacks in the US. Dr. Abdullah studies the impact of racism and discrimination on mental health, mental health treatment stigma, and understanding Black Americans’ mental health treatment experiences. She aims to use the knowledge gained from her research to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health services and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and mental health treatment in Black communities. We, at DARA Collective, are so honored to be interlinking our research teams, growing communities of co-resistance and care within our clinical psychology program at UMass Boston and beyond. 


Dr. James Ferreira Moura Junior

Dr. Moura is professor of the Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Humanities at the University of International Integration of the Afro-Brazilian Lusophony (UNILAB) and of the Graduate Program in Psychology at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Northeastern, Brazil. Dr. Moura is a member of the Latin American Training Network in Community Psychology. Dr. Moura works towards strengthening community resistance strategies from decolonial perspectives grounded in the Latin American liberation paradigm. His research team is entitled: the Network for the Study and Confrontation of Poverty, Discrimination and Resistance . We, as DARA Collective, love to sing Dr. Moura's praises. We eat and laugh together. We find community in circles and in protests. We dance together, even continents apart. And we are overjoyed, because this is only the beginning...


Nihaya M. Abu-Rayyan

Nihaya Aburayyan, MA, is a psychosocial supervisor for Community Health Workers (CHWs) at H4P/Lajee Center in Palestine. In her work, Ms. Aburayyan focuses on guiding, educating, and supporting the CHWs as they engage in the complex process of providing psychosocial support to their patients.  Ms. Aburayyan is a member of CURCUM, which is associated with us here at the DARA Collective. In addition to her work with the CHWs, Ms. Aburayyan is also a clinical social worker at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture where she implements psychosocial interventions with individuals, groups and families. Furthermore, Ms. Aburayyan also works as a freelance prison counselor’s supervisor at UNWOMEN in Palestine. Ms. Aburayyan has a diploma in Narrative Therapy, and she works as a senior narrative therapist, teacher and supervisor. Ms. Aburayyan has extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, educator, counselor, therapist, and writer in Palestine. Two of her impactful publications include: Seasons of life: ex-detainees reclaiming their lives and Responding to trauma that is not past: strengthening stories of survival and resistance. She has also published several articles in local and international magazines dealing with the elements of mental health in the Palestinian context. Ms. Aburayyan is particularly interested in Indigenous and decolonial approaches of healing and justice praxis in Palestine, which promote health and resistance to colonization, whereby possibilities for genuine liberation can emerge. We are so very honored to be working in collaboration with such an incredible healer, thinker, and leader as Ms. Aburayyan here at DARA Collective. There are few people who shine and bring light to all the individuals and communities they work with, like Ms. Aburayyan. You are an inspiration! 

Ms. Aburayyan at H4P
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Dr. Sarah Ihmoud

Dr. Ihmoud is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross. Her work takes a decolonial feminist approach to understand Palestinian women’s survival and resistance to settler colonial violence in the intimate spaces of the embodied and the everyday. She is also invested in building collaborative Black, Indigenous and women of color feminist praxes towards expanding visions of liberation and decolonial futures. We, as DARA Collective, are so honored to be co-creating communities of resistance with you Sarah!


Dr. Shahnaaz Suffla

Dr. Suffla is a researcher affiliated to the Institute for Social and Health Sciences at the University of South Africa. Her research focuses on critical psychologies located within decolonial philosophies and epistemologies in contexts of structural and epistemic violence; participatory engagement as a site of activism, resistance and social change; and Africa-centred approaches. Dr. Suffla is a leader and organizer, weaving webs of solidarity and support across so many of our communities and movements. Over many years, you have brought us decolonial scholars together. We, as DARA Collective, are so indebted to your labors of love and interconnection.


Dr. Yousef Al-Ajarma

Dr. Al-Ajarma is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Department at William James College.  Dr. Al-Ajarma is a registered Expressive Arts Therapist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and his areas of work focus on the application of arts to teaching and to psychotherapy practice, resilience and trauma, family and couples therapy, and conflict transformation. Dr. Al-Ajarma is a member of CURCUM كركم which is one of DARA Collective’s active research projects. Within his role at CURUCM, Dr. Al-Ajarma has been a critical leader and partner in our research and psychosocial practice in partnership with a community health worker project in the West Bank, Palestine.  We are honored to be building our collaboration with Dr. Al- Ajarma, and to continue to learn and grown together with him in the future. Thank you dear Dr. Al-Ajarma for your leadership and ongoing support and wisdom that you share with us at the DARA Collective! يعطيك العافية


Dr. Jesica Siham Fernández

Dr. Fernández is an Assistant Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at Santa Clara University. She is a multidisciplinary teacher-scholar and community-engaged researcher. She is the author of the new book Growing Up Latinx: Coming of Age in a Time of Contested Citizenship. Dr. Fernández's writings, research, pedagogy and community activist scholarship reflects the assemblages of her positionalities and lived experiences as a Chicana, immigrant to the U.S., and first-generation college graduate. We, as DARA Collective, are honored to be co-building our communities of resistance with Dr. Fernández.


Dr. Deanne Bell

Dr. Bell is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, UK, whose teaching, writing and social activism focus on deep emancipation. We, as DARA Collective, are honored to be co-building with Dr. Bell.  We are constantly learning from her writings, teachings, and conversations. She inspires us to practice decolonial ways of being and knowing by applying decoloniality to our personal journeys and to our dreams for collective emancipation - remembering that we can remake the university, not only as a possibility, but an inevitability. Thank you Deanne for your continual inspiration.


Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei

Dr. Abu Jamei is the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), which is a non-profit civil organization working to promote mental health and human rights in Gaza, Palestine. Dr. Abu Jamei has been the director of GCMHP since 2014, working as a leader of the organization in the midst of ongoing siege and colonial violence. We as DARA Collective, are honored to be learning from, and accompanying Dr. Abu Jamei and his organization in how they wage care and dignity in their work with the people of Gaza. We admire you dear Yasser, and we send sumoud from Boston with love. 

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Dr. Ronelle Carolissen

Dr. Carolissen is a clinical psychologist and full professor of Community Psychology in the Department of Educational psychology, Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. Her work explores feminist social justice pedagogies and critical community psychology perspectives in higher education contexts. She deeply inspires our DARA Collective in our attempts at mentoring and learning against coloniality. Dr. Carolissen's work on epistemological resistance and teaching decoloniality are deeply grounding and inspirational to us. We are so looking forward to ongoing interconnections dear Ronelle!

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Dr. Rakhshanda Saleem

Dr. Saleem is an Associate Professor of Counseling and Psychology at Lesley University. Her work is embedded in decolonial, liberatory, and the emancipatory consciousness and the potential of grassroots and community-engaged movements. Dr. Saleem's work seeks to address issues facing disenfranchised migrant communities and learning about solidarity from the perspectives of impacted community members, activist, and organizers, exploring structural violence and its impact on “undocumented” Latinos (as) immigrants, Muslims (immigrants and non-immigrants), and LGBTQIA+ persons who have experienced incarceration, and identifying migration factors impacting the wellbeing of South Asian immigrant women.  Throughout her work, Dr. Saleem engages transnational and interdisciplinary perspectives with a focus on the impact of structural and systemic violence. We are so honored to be in community with you dear Rakshanda and we look forward to continuing to co-build our revolutionary community here in the greater Boston area together!

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Dr. Lara Sheehi

Dr. Sheehi is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the George Washington University Professional Psychology Program. Dr. Sheehi is co-editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and co-editor of Counterspace in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. She is co-author with Stephen Sheehi of Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine. Dr. Sheehi's work takes up decolonial struggles, global solidarity movements with a focus on the global south, and anti-oppressive clinical theory and praxis. We, as DARA Collective, look forward to strengthening our interconnections, deeply inspired by your frameworks and your solidarity practice.  


Dr. Dana Francisco Miranda

Dr. Miranda is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research and teaching interest are in Africana philosophy, political philosophy, existentialism, decolonial theory and psychological studies. Dr. Miranda's research not only criticizes “disordered” political orders, but also aims to construct viable “counter-orders” as part of his decolonial praxis. His work has examined how living under conditions of antiblack racism and coloniality affects not only experiences of depression and suicide for Afro-diasporic people, but also how such conditions should be diagnosed and treated. We, at DARA Collective are honored and excited to be deepening our interconnections with Dr. Miranda, whose brilliance and analysis on the entanglement between psychological “well-being” and political “disorder” and the importance of not only focusing on psychiatric intervention but also on liberation, is deeply inspiring.

Inspirations and Interconnections : Research
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