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  • Neelley Hicks

How Long, O Lord?

This is the question that generations of people have asked themselves. How long do we have to wait for the world to be healed? For people to care about those who are oppressed? For us to fix the problems that humanity has created?

Humans have the spirit of God within. What is possible for God often comes into being through you and me. It’s the synergy that’s created when we root our actions in God’s love for all people and creation. In its truest sense, it is activated love.

Activating Love

Activated love embodies both mercy and justice. They are twins that must walk together.

Rev. Dr. Autura Eason-Williams was a powerhouse of activated love. Read more

“The Autura Eason-Williams Day of Lament and Action (AEWDLA) is an annual day established by the Black Methodists for Church Renewal of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference of the UMC.” The AEWDLA was conceived by the Late Rev. Roger Hopson and the Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton.

On the first anniversary of Dr. Autura’s death, people gathered in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, honoring her life, addressing gun violence and trauma, and activating people to walk together in mercy and justice in their communities. Triumph Over Trauma representatives Terrence Ryans (Memphis) and Harper Hill Global Executive Director Rev. Neelley Hicks (Nashville) spoke to raise awareness of the impact of trauma and to assist communities as they mobilize for action.

Rev. Kimberlynn Alexander and Terrence Ryans of St. Matthews United Methodist of Memphis met Rev. Neelley Hicks at Dr. Autura’s wake in July of 2022. They connected at a heart level and together sought to bring healing from the trauma they and others continue to experience in Memphis.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors contracted with Harper Hill Global to assist in increasing capacity to serve people with mental health needs in communities. The psycho-educational TAMAR (Trauma, Addiction, Mental health, And Recovery) program, originally funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) twenty-five years ago, was revised and customized to expand trauma and mental health services in congregations currently offering Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and various other Twelve-Step services. Because of NASMHPD's commitment to expanding community-based programs, resources, and online training are free and accessible through

Activating People for Trauma Healing

In Memphis and Nashville, attendees of AEWDLA learned how trauma can affect human engagement and actions. When a person is reminded of a traumatic memory - perhaps through a particular smell, sight, taste, or place, the body produces sometimes harmful symptoms. Some may feel pain in their gut. Others can feel their pulse racing or become hypervigilant as if they are currently under attack. These survival mechanisms warn us of impending danger and help the human species survive. But when people act out of survival mode when it is unnecessary, they do things they may never do otherwise. Learning how to identify personal trauma reminders/triggers and understanding how to self-soothe in healthy ways are life skills that transform a lifetime.

Triumph Over Trauma provides a 7-session version of TAMAR (English and Spanish) and TAMAR-Y for youth. The program is accompanied by various faith context supplements, coupling the core Body/Mind program as a holistic means of trauma recovery. Volunteer facilitators are needed to lead the small group program in their own communities. By becoming a facilitator, you and the group participants will learn, grow, and help others in new ways.

Also available on are videos, a social media guide, the "I Am Whole" Triumph Over Trauma theme song (written by Tameka Ferebee), and context supplements for Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Native American communities.

We are living in a post-pandemic world with human-induced oppression, mass shootings, natural disasters, political violence, and war. We cry out, “How long, O Lord?” May we also ask, “How can I become activated love for the healing of the world?”

Photos from the AEWDLA and Triumph Over Trauma events in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

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