Obari Cartman’s work begins with stories. “I start with an individual and I say, ‘Tell me how you got here,’” said Dr. Cartman, a trauma-focused clinician and restorative justice coach who primarily works with young Black men in Chicago. “A lot of my work straddles that fence between individual therapy, and community advocacy and organizing.”
When we speak, Cartman has just returned from distributing 500 portions of fresh produce and masks to community members in Chicago with Real Men Charities, a grassroots group he helps lead. The group has long advocated for food justice in a community that regularly experiences high levels of hunger. Now, the pandemic has caused these long-simmering inequalities to erupt.