Rooted in Liberation + Respite from the Grind

Striving for a world where all people have the time, space, and support to heal from burnout and other systemic wounds inflicted by capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy.

A black and white photo of a large protest.
A photo of a light-skinned Black woman relaxing among philodendren plants. Her eyes are closed and her head face is tilted up to the right.
A photo of a candle holder with a tea light, burning incense, and some crystals arranged on a wooden desk. They are sitting on a large leaf positioned atop a book.

The Power is in People.

The system is failing, but one thing is for sure: people can change the world.

And people do change the world on a daily basis, in both small and large ways. Activists, DEI professionals, faith-based changemakers, and other people working on the front lines of systemic change create new worlds with the work they do.

But too often that work is underfunded, unacknowledged, and deprioritized, leaving the people doing the work feeling devalued and exhausted. 

Rooted Respite is founded in the idea you get to live in the liberated world you work so hard to realize. 

You already see it; now it’s time to live it.  

A photo of a protest sign at a rally. The sign reads: "Fight today for a better tomorrow."

Our Story

A photo of Taj sleeping on a red couch before class. He is wearing a grey blazer over a patterned shirt and brown chinos. He is holding his hat in one hand. His black leather satchel is open to the right of him.
2015: A burnt out Taj sleeping in a foyer before class.

Taj M. Smith founded Rooted Respite out of a deep desire to know the liberation he’s spent his life working towards. He started his first business at age 9 washing cars in his neighborhood and has been working ever since. Growing up in a low-income household instilled in him the idea that money is synonymous with freedom, which he believed through his first few years of college. Between 2007 and 2009, he burnt out and dropped out.

He noticed this pattern in grad school as well as his professional life in higher education and as an organizer: burning out and having to step away only to come back and burn out again. When he started to dig deeper into why this kept happening, he found systemic problems at the root. 

Rooted Respite was born in 2023 to help those struggling with burnout and compassion fatigue in social change uproot the cause and firmly plant themselves in the world they envision: rested, resourced, resilient, and free of exploitation. 

Rooted Respite follows a lineage of Black artists, scholars, and futurists who resist the status quo in their writing and thinking. Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemisin, Tricia Hersey, and adrienne maree brown are a few names that come to mind, but the list is longer than that.

Burnout is a byproduct of the systemic and collective trauma capitalism inflicts on our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Our Founding Principles

Every being has intrinsic worth.

All life on this planet exists for itself; not as a consumable resource. By reconnecting to the intrinsic worth of all living beings, humanity can reconnect to the vital role we play in creating a sustainable future for all living beings.

Interdependence > Individualism

Every living thing relies on something else to survive in a delicate balance. The future of life on this planet hangs on humanity recognizing, appreciating, and nurturing this balance.

The small scale repeats at the large scale.

The patterns we see in our social systems repeat inside each individual person and vice versa. With awareness of our harmful patterns and their disruption, we create small-scale changes that reverberate through our culture.

Spirituality facilitates the healing of trauma.

Spirituality helps regulate the nervous system, creating space for our bodies and minds to process traumatic events and reconnect to the core of who are. When we know who we are, we are more aware of what we need to thrive.

Step into your soft, rested life.

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