Author’s note: this piece was originally published on June 1, 2020 on TheLipstickTherapist.com in the wake of the uprisings sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Since then there have been more incidences of police brutality committed and uncovered, including the latest involving Jacob Blake. With this in mind, I figured that it would be appropriate to revisit this topic as a timely reminder that the fight is far from over.
The events of this weekend and beyond have been nothing short of historic.
Over the weekend, millions of people took to the streets worldwide to protest the murder of George Floyd, the broader issue of police brutality against Black people, and the specter of racism that has plagued every Western nation for centuries.
As a Black woman, I felt a wide range of emotions as I watched this unfold. I felt the same anguish and rage that comes with seeing yet another innocent Black person dying at the hands of a racist, incompetent police officer whose badge afforded him the opportunity to cruelly execute someone in broad daylight. And yet, I also felt renewed hope in seeing the collective solidarity reach levels of support that I had never seen before. I saw how this protest was different, as people who are normally silent raised their voices and others who were on the wrong side of history publicly apologized, vowing to do the work to change their perspective and use their privilege on the side of right.
It was overwhelming.
To say that we are living through a poignant chapter in history is a vast understatement, as the collective energy surrounding this particular protest is unprecedented. With that being said, it is important that we ensure our mental stability and fortitude as we all do our part in finally eradicating racism at the individual and systemic level. The day has come where we cannot “remain neutral,” and we will all have to face ourselves. In doing so, our mental health must be a priority. Whatever role you play in this moment, be sure to take care of yourself. Find or call your therapist. Take a break from the news. Eat well, hydrate, and allow yourself to release your emotions as they come. In one way or another we are all grieving. We were not built to withstand this amount of trauma; get support where and when you need it.
As for action steps: For some, it means addressing the individual and collective trauma that living in a racist society has inflicted upon you and your loved ones. For others, it means coming to terms with the way living in a biased system has benefited you, betrayed others, and what needs to be done on your end to make it more equitable for all. For some, it means being on the front lines of the protest; for others it means working behind the scenes to support change from the inside and the underground. Jobs will be lost, friendships will be severed, and families will be fractured as we take a stand and decide to say “no more,” but in that breakdown will be a building up of a better society where our differences will not be ignored, but embraced and those who wish to do anyone harm will be brought to justice without question, debate, or denial.
For tangible ways to help, click here to read The Cut’s guide on ways to combat police brutality and racism, locally and otherwise.