Established by social change maker Brandi Grayson, Urban Triage has been at the forefront of empowering Black families throughout Madison.
Grayson birthed Urban Triage from her own experiences and trauma.
“Being homeless, sleeping on the concrete, having a kid at a young age, having parents and a mother who was crack-addicted, having abusive grandparents or family members. That feels safe. Destruction feels safe,” said Grayson.
For Grayson, a big part of working through these negative emotions and experiences was understanding that it was less about her and more about the context of her life, grasping the reasons why she is the way she is. That work came with a lot of “aha moments” that she hopes others can encounter.
She took all of those experiences and built out the Supporting Healthy Black Families curriculum.
“It’s okay who you are. It’s okay that you’re a mess, it’s okay that you don’t have it all together, it’s okay that you’re angry, it’s okay that you have these inner stories,” said Grayson. “Accepting all of those parts of us and at the same time being accountable for those parts of us.”
For Grayson, society teaches us that people can’t be okay with who they are and be accountable for it.
“It’s okay that you’re hurt from all that crap that had nothing to do with you,” said Grayson.
For her, the best way to help those disproportionately affected by racism is to lead them on their own journey of “aha moments,” moments that click for them and make sense in their own lives.
“Because if not then we keep just living in Groundhog Day,” Grayson said. “We keep living in our past, bringing it to our now, projecting it into the future and then we get locked into this cycle.”
She knows that when people start being accountable for their own lives, especially the negative parts, and taking action, it shows up throughout their lives.
“People have come through our work groups that have left abusive marriages, went to therapy with their kids and are more present, learning to listen more to their kids, quit a job and start businesses believing in themselves,” said Grayson. “And these are people who would never even think that they would ever do such a thing.”
Grayson has witnessed transformations in her community and continues to spread her message.
“So my message to every person who sees this is be true to you, keep going regardless of what you’re facing or what’s in front of you. Know that it’s you who causes and creates,” says Grayson.