The Trauma of Injustice
Updated: Jul 19
Racism, bigotry, discrimination, brutality, and straight ignorance are draining in every way.
As I write this, I think about that time my brother, Will, came home and told us that he got pulled over on the highway. He said that even after taking his license, the state trooper angrily insisted on referring to him as “Tyrone” for the entire conversation, despite my brother's respectful corrections. Thankfully, no guns, brutality, or arrests were involved. But that’s a tiny example of what black people endure daily (if they're 'lucky' enough to leave the situation alive)- discrimination, degradation, and dismissal of their worth.
I think about how on a recent Sunday as I watched my church sermon online, I get a text message from my best friend who participated in New Haven’s protest, about how scared she was. She said she joined a group of fellow white people who formed a perimeter around any black people present as they got the news that some protestors were being arrested. “I heard they got guns,” she said. “They’re writing their phone numbers on themselves in case they get taken."
I think about the safety of my black dad as he goes to work in Hartford as they protest the unjustified death of George Floyd. No, he’s not a cop. But he does wear a black uniform similar to that of a cop’s. Will people try to shoot at him or assault him? Will they harass him?
Dealing with the trauma on both sides means worrying about the safety of my black and brown loved ones in this society as well as worrying about the crazy response that our (rightfully) hurt people have toward the injustice and how they choose to channel it.
There's so much anger and frustration in the atmosphere, and as a Black and Puerto Rican woman, I completely and wholeheartedly understand where it stems from. We are completely exhausted. We are weary from living in a world that is concretely set up to diminish us. However, we have to make sure we're channeling it in the most productive ways possible. Not just spewing it at anything we create as a target.
There are so many sides of the story, but the one that obviously weighs the most is the trauma of being black in this world. I don't know about you, but I have felt super heavy since March. COVID-19 spread like wildfire, so many black and brown lives were taken, discriminated against, and shared throughout the media etc...And as I open the apps on my phone daily, I can't help but feel more and more drained.
I think about Vanessa Guillen who was literally killed with a hammer by a man that was sexually harassing her. Where is her justice?
When will this madness end? When will society and the systems finally love and respect my people? Why has it been centuries of this bs happening?
Being a minority and/or caring about police brutality, sexual abuse in the Army, black women dying at alarming rates (and the list goes on), you are tired. And it's okay to take a break. It's okay to not want to post something to prove that you're still in this fight for justice. It's okay to not show up to a protest or two or three. Take care of YOU, because if you don't, you can't contribute anything to the movement. And it's a movement, not a moment, so that means you have to take breaks in order to stay with it.
Despite all of the hardship from fighting against injustice, the hope that I hold onto is that our work is paving the way for change to happen. The hope I hold onto is that we have God working in and through us to incite that change, meaning we can do the impossible. And if you think not? Here's a tweet from @fridahalo to teach you about yourself:
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Aubrey. Tony McDade. Atatiana Jefferson. Aiyana Stanley Jones. Korryn Gaines. Kathryn Johnson... and so many sadly anonymous others that are slain every day. Say all of their names. Remember the ones you hear about and think about all who you don't.
Here's a google doc filled with tons of ways you can help black lives: docs.google.com/document/d/1Ra1crnSHFzgznux5BBPuFkd-7vCo7YAPCeIWZr3Ryjg/mobilebasic
Help hold the US Army accountable for Vanessa Guillen: https://www.change.org/p/hold-the-us-army-military-in-ft-hood-accountable-find-vanessa-guillen
Spread the word and never stop fighting.