Mending Racial Trauma with Carynne Williams and Jennifer Shepard Payne (Special Bonus Episode)

One year ago, on May 25, 2020, the murder of George Floyd sparked social justice protests around the world. In this special bonus episode, we hear first from Dr. Jennifer Shepard Payne, who shares her powerful and heartfelt poem, The Curb, written in the days after George Floyd’s murder. Next Carynne Williams, a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of MEND, tells the story of her mission to help clinicians of color access quality evidence-based trauma training and mend racial trauma. Learn about how you can get involved, and turn your own racial justice values into action!

I describe social justice as a potluck…Everybody has something to bring to the table. Everybody who sees the need for social justice has a part to play in it.

Carynne Williams


About Carynne Williams

Carynne Williams earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2010 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also has a Master of Public Administration degree from North Carolina Central University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. Over the course of her career, she has provided psychotherapy in a wide range of clinical settings including practice in federal and state agencies. As an intern for Michelle Obama in 2010, Carynne worked on the launch of the Let‘s Move Campaign and healthy eating initiatives. One of the most rewarding experiences of her time as Mrs. Obama’s intern was working with the First Lady’s mentoring initiatives with inner-city girls in Washington DC. Most recently, she has worked for the Department of Justice as a Clinical Social Worker, providing treatment to dozens of patients over the course of the past several years. Carynne has a passion for helping others and has been able to do so with clients ranging from ages four to 80 years old. She has a distinct passion and proven talent in working with marriages and families, and does not believe in a one size fits all approach to treatment. Instead, she prefers a pragmatic approach that includes psychodynamic treatment, CBT, DBT skills, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-focused, and psychoeducation. Belief in addressing the needs of the whole person- emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially is at the core of Carynne’s interactions with her clients. Her own faith and spiritual beliefs fuel her passion for people- their restoration and healing. She is the founder of MEND, an organization which provides clinicians of color with greater access to quality evidence-based trainings trauma.

About Dr. Jennifer Shepard Payne

Dr. Jennifer Shepard Payne headshot

Jennifer Shepard Payne, Ph.D., LCSW, is an Associate Professor at Azusa Pacific University in the Department of Social Work. She received her doctorate from the UCLA School of Public Affairs and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with many years of experience in mental health clinical practice and administration. Her research interests include developing culturally tailored community-based depression and trauma interventions and addressing minority mental health disparities. For several years, Dr. Payne has been working on culturally tailoring Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for African American communities, both clinically and via research. She has a private practice, DTG Counseling and Consulting, where she provides ACT counseling and coaching primarily to African Americans of faith suffering from anxiety or trauma. She is also writing a book with New Harbinger Publications entitled “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Black Trauma: A Culturally Embracing Guide to Pulling Yourself Out of the Fire and Emerging Whole,” November 2021. For more information about her work, visit

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