Being Black in America


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I love this month because it gives us an opportunity to have needed conversations and address the mental health issues that can affect our society or impact us personally. Recently, a video surfaced of a young, Black man by the name of Ahmaud Arbery being shot. In the video, it appears that he is running, being chased, runs towards a white man with a gun, wrestles with the man and then after a few seconds (and shots), falls dead to the ground. It has thus far, rattled many communities within the United States.


I felt the need to write a blog post about it because so many people said that #AhmaudArbery was not "just another jogger." They looked into his past and attempted to paint a picture to justify the fact that he was shot, under an attempted citizen's arrest. I wrote the blog post because the next day...there was silence. And it was deafening. I posted the blog on my employer's intranet because I felt that "it was time." I then received many responses, that left me hopeful and grateful. I believe that we if we resolve to win over racism, we will win. However, there are many layers that we must dig through and pluck out the root of all things evil in order to do so. I hope you are also able to hear my heart in this writing below. Thank you.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month...I am writing this blog post because I think it is needed and it is time.  My hope is that it will not cause much of a ruckus or work any of you up in a lather.  Instead, I hope it gives you pause and makes you consider, with empathy the experience of being Black in America.

Being Black in America is exhausting.  Being Black in America is traumatizing.

I should just stop there but I cannot.  Imagine knowing that someone who shares similar attributes to you or your loved ones was chased down, attempted to defend for his life and shot down...for jogging.  Imagine knowing that someone who shares similar attributes to you or your loved ones decided to go to church and was murdered while worshiping.  Imagine knowing someone who shares similar attributes to you or your loved ones is shot in a park who is only 12 years old.  Imagine knowing that someone who shares similar attributes to you or your loved ones can't get pulled over...ask a copy a question, take out your wallet, cash a check, decorate a party, or even SLEEP without the threat of being shot. 

And so you mourn.  You mourn for the mothers that have to bury their children prematurely.  You mourn for the families that lost their member.  You mourn for the dreams that were never realized.  You mourn.

And then imagine that your husband leaves your house to get groceries.  You panic, you think the worst, you're afraid that he will become yet another hashtag.  You check your phone relentlessly.  You text to get updates every 5 minutes.  You panic.  Further imagine raising a Black son in America...you worry that he will be perceived as a threat, you have nightmares that his youth will be shrouded in fear, you are plagued with thoughts.  "Do I tell him to take extra precautions...so he's not perceived as a threat."  My son is 6 and yes, I have had those thoughts.  He is 6!

Being Black in America is exhausting.  Being Black in America is traumatizing.

Finally, imagine going to work and no one even addresses it.  Everyone sits in silence or hits you with the usual, "how's it going?"  No empathy.  No hugs.  No "I'm sorry."  No words.  Nothing.  Your meetings go on as usual.  The tasks and outcomes are still required.  Silence from your colleagues.  Silence from your leaders.

Being Black in America is exhausting.  Being Black in America is traumatizing.

When LGBTQI Communities are attacked, we support them.  When laws changes and immigrant communities are plagued, we speak up.  When women come together to fight inequality and assault against our gender, we rally.  When Black communities suffer...silence.

Being Black in America is exhausting.  Being Black in America is traumatizing.

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