Updated: Feb 7
On May 25th, George Flyod had no idea that his trip to the store would lead to his final moments and spark a movement that would rival the infamous march on Selma. Now whether the accusations made against Mr. Flyod are true or not, it unveiled a dark truth that has been swept underneath the rug of American society--black lives are not seen as valuable.
The message of black lives being deemed as less valuable was constantly repeated right before our very eyes with countless images of unarmed black people whose lives were taken away unnecessarily by the use of excessive force. The black community is haunted by the stories of Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Amhaud Aubrey, Tamir Rice, Breoanna Taylor, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and countless others. While society is making it clear that racial injustice is something that can no longer be tolerated, the silent issue that remains is the trauma that this instills into black families.
According to a study cited in an op-ed by Lisa H. Thurau and Johanna Wald in USA Today,
“The observed adverse mental health spillover effects of police killings of unarmed black Americans could result from heightened perceptions of threat and vulnerability, lack of fairness, lower social status, lower beliefs about one’s own worth, activation of prior traumas, and identification with the deceased.”
The black community in America has had to cope with the injustices and abuse of their human and civil rights from the inception of this country, through the Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement and today's Black Lives Matter Movement. The intergenerational trauma is stitched into the very fabric of our identity as other in this country and sadly we see that there is more ways to go given the frequency of these incidents.
There May Be Hope.
Statements of condemnation by large groups of diverse protesters, corporations and leaders from all sectors and all over the world give us a sign that change may be on the horizon. Some have gone as far to go beyond the typical means of support through donations to the victims' families and have committed to making concrete systemic changes in their arenas of influence. However, only time will tell if this movement becomes the final apex in the story of systemic racism in the States or if we are just holding our breaths until another victim is called to become the next symbolic hashtag.
Be well and be safe