by Chanel Ward
Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) celebrated the 2019 Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship with Dr. Ricardo Carrillo, Clinical Psychologist for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco and Curandero on October 23.
This year’s theme, Weaving Medicines: la cultura todavía cura, the culture still heals, in recognition of Indigenous people reclaiming their “traditional medicine” through remedios and healing ceremonies, while passing down the wisdom to continue healing those communities.
“People need to understand that the things that have happened to us, many of those things aren’t our responsibility, but they happen to us anyway. So, we have to take responsibility for our healing.” Dr. Ricardo Carrillo
Ricardo Carrillo, Ph.D. practices forensic psychology privately and is currently the Director of prevention and early intervention at La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland California. He has worked with a Latino behavioral health organization that helps rural communities with substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence at Primer Paso Institute Inc., where he served as the executive director as well as continues to conduct policy research for the California Endowment on the disparities in Latino mental health.
Dr. Carrillo was introduced to a packed audience at St. Cajetan’s Event Center on the Auraria Campus, where former Chair of Chicana/o Studies at MSU, Dr. Ramón Del Castillo relayed the message of author Jerry Tello, MS: “We are all sacred and the healing of trauma has to do with what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you.”
Tello is co-founder of the National Compadres Network and is currently Director of Training and Capacity Building. He is the author of Recovering Your Sacredness, A Father’s Love, a series of children’s books, and co-editor, along with Dr. Carrillo of Family Violence and Men of Color.
Dr. Carrillo spoke with El Semanario after his moving speech on mental health, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and ethics in the Latino/Chicano/Mexicano community, where he explained his own lineage.
“I’m Chicano. I’m Mexicano, first-generation immigrant, migrated here from Guadalajara, México and I grew up in the Chicano Movement,” Dr. Carrillo shared.
“People need to understand that the things that have happened to us, many of those things aren’t our responsibility, but they happen to us anyway. So, we have to take responsibility for our healing,” Dr. Carrillo explained.
“We have – in our culture – traditions, medicine that we practice for centuries and so recognizing that, finding people that are there and what I’m really impressed with is, the movement of academicians, of people in universities and students interested in these practices,” Dr. Carrillo expressed proudly.
Dr. Carrillo’s advice, “learn to pay attention to these teachings, because we can be traumatized by migration, we can be traumatized by abandonment and neglect, although that wasn’t our parents’ intent.
“There’s a lot of resentment and anger and hostility. Chemical dependency is intergenerational, sexual abuse as well, and when those things happen, you have to tend to them, you have to understand how you’re affected and find someone who can help with that,” Dr. Carrillo said.
To learn more about Dr. Carrillo and his work you can visit his website at ricardocarrillophd.com.
The Richard T. Castro Visiting Professorship began at MSU in 1997, six years after his untimely passing, to honor the life and legacy of Castro, an MSU graduate, former Colorado State Legislator, educator, community activist and more. His life was dedicated to multicultural inclusion and education for Latina/o’s and the 22-year long standing Professorship ensures Castro’s work continues.
His wife, Virginia Castro was in attendance, as she is every year and at the very Campus she met her late husband. Both attended Metropolitan State College, meeting in 1967 and marrying in 1971. Virginia Castro continues to lead a community beside her and with her husband always behind her.
To learn more about Richard T. Castro, the Professorship and the renowned scholars who have visited MSU in the past visit, msudenver.edu/castro.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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