“We need a mass-based movement for mental health patterned after AA, where there are meetings people can attend and have education for critical consciousness…We need to start where we are, in the places where people live.”
— bell hooks
TOOL KIT: HEALING IN THE FACE OF CULTURAL TRAUMA
This tool kit was developed by and for people of African ancestry, for our self-care, family-care, and community care. It is designed to comfort and inspire us in these difficult times. It provides resources to help us take care of ourselves and each other, and strengthen our sense of community for the journey ahead.
SHAREABLE IMAGES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
We encourage everyone to save these photos and share them on a social media channel of their choice. These images are intended to evoke emotion and inspire the viewer. If you’re on a computer, drag these photos onto your desktop. If you’re on a mobile device, you can save the images by taking a screen shot.
ESSENTIAL READING FOR COMMUNITY HEALING
- Enola G. Aird, “Toward a Renaissance for the African-American Family: Confronting the Lie of Black Inferiority,” Emory Law Journal, 58 (2009): 7.
- Naim Akbar, Ph.D., Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery
- Dr. Maya Angelou, A Song Flung Up to Heaven
- Tom Burrell, Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority
- Dr. Joy DeGruy, Ph.D., Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing
- Donna L. Franklin, What’s Love Got To Do With It?: Understanding and Healing the Rift Between Black Men and Women
- Michelle Gourdine, M.D., Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African-American Wellness
- bell hooks, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem
- Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas
- Toni Morrison, Beloved and The Bluest Eye
- Alvin Poussaint, M.D., and Amy Alexander, Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans
- Brenda Lane Richardson and Dr. Brenda Wade, What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love: Healing the Emotional Legacy of Racism By Celebrating Our Light
- Terrie Williams, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting
- Carter G. Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro
What books would you add to the Community Healing Essential Reading List and why? Please tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOVIES THAT START HEALING CONVERSATIONS
Akeelah and the Bee, directed by Doug Atchison
Antwone Fisher, directed by Denzel Washington
A Place of Our Own, a documentary by Stanley Nelson
A Soldier’s Story, directed by Norman Jewison
Beloved, directed by Jonathan Demme
Down in the Delta, directed by Maya Angelou
Pride, directed by Suni Gonera
The Great Debaters, directed by Denzel Washington
500 Years Later, directed by Owen Shahadah
Dark Girls, directed by Bill Dukes
Films by Janks Morton:
- Dear Daddy
- Guilty Until Proven Innocent
- We Need to Talk
- What Black Men Think
Here are a few questions that might help to start the conversation…
How do you see the lie of Black inferiority at work in the lives of the Black people in this movie?
What damage has it done to the men and women in the movie?
How did the lie get passed on to the people in the movie?
In what ways are the people in this movie like people you know? In what ways are they different?
In light of this movie, what steps do you think we can or should or must take as a people to overcome the lie of Black inferiority?
SAMPLE OF MAYORAL PROCLAMATION
SUPPORTING THE CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY HEALING DAYS
WHEREAS, in July 2008, the House of Representatives of the United States adopted a resolution acknowledging that “African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow—long after both systems were formally abolished–through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity,” and
WHEREAS, the House further acknowledged “the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow,” and apologized “to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors…”; and
WHEREAS, in June 2009, the Senate of the United States also adopted a resolution acknowledging that “African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws—long after both systems were formally abolished–through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty,” and
WHEREAS, the Senate further acknowledged “the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws,” and apologizing “to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors…”; and
WHEREAS, in September 2008, the Community Healing Network issued a Call to Healing and Renewal urging all Black people to recognize the continuing harm done by slavery and Jim Crow, especially through the creation and propagation of the myth of Black inferiority; and
WHEREAS, the Call to Healing and Renewal urged people everywhere to observe Community Healing Days, on the third weekend of every October, to celebrate healing for Black people and to focus on the work needed to overcome the myth of Black inferiority; and
WHEREAS, the United States House and Senate resolutions and the celebration of Community Healing Days promote the cause of racial healing, reconciliation, and justice; and
WHEREAS, [CITY/STATE] seeks to advance the cause of racial healing, reconciliation, and justice;
NOW, THEREFORE, I [NAME AND TITLE], do hereby proclaim the third weekend of every October, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as Community Healing Days, in [CITY/STATE].
Signed this [DATE] day of [MONTH], 20__
FACTSHEET: RACE-BASED DATA THROUGH THE LIFE CYCLE
The Early Years (0 to 12)
Black infants are more than twice as likely to die as White infants. A growing body of research links this disparity to the toxic psychological stress experienced as a result of systemic racism.
Black students as young as four years old are already facing unequal treatment from school administrators. According to a 2014 study:
- Black students accounted for 18% of the country’s pre-K enrolment, but made up 48% of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions.
- Black students were expelled at three times the rate of White students.
- Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys.
- Nearly one in four boys of color, excepting Latino and Asian American students, with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.
- One in five girls of color with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.
- A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of Black and Latino students did not offer Algebra II.
- A third of these schools did not offer chemistry.
- Black and Latino students accounted for 40% of enrolment at schools with gifted programs, but only represented 26% of students in such programs.
- Black, Latino and Native American students attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers (3-4%) than White students (1%).
- Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60% of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.
Among children ages 5 to 12, Black children have a significantly higher incidence of suicide than White children.
The Teen Years (13-18)
The U.S. Department of Education saw a spike in student racial harassment complaints in 2017 as it planned to scale back civil rights investigations and shrink the office that handles these submissions.
The Young Adult Years (18 – 25)
Police arrest Black Americans for drug crimes at twice the rate of White Americans, according to federal data, despite the fact that White Americans use drugs at comparable rates and sell drugs at comparable or even higher rates.
Black women in the United States are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as White women.
Black Americans are criminalized and surveilled more heavily than other demographics, as seen in a recently documented trend of White Americans calling the police on Black people for merely existing in public space.
The Adult Years (26-65)
A large wealth disparity still exists between White and Black Americans. Among other factors, FHA redlining, restrictive covenants, and exploitative contract selling practices that capitalized on Black families’ inability to get conventional mortgages all prevented African-Americans from generating wealth through home ownership for much of the 20th century.
Black Americans may be excluded from juries because of their race, and are more likely to serve longer sentences than White Americans for the same offence.
Black Americans are also more likely to be disenfranchised because of a felony conviction. According to recent estimates from the Sentencing Project, 2.5% of all Americans are disenfranchised due to a current or past felony conviction. For Black Americans, the figure is 7.7%, or about 1 in 13.
A 2014 study in New York City showed that Black Americans were more likely than White Americans or non-Black minorities to be in jail while they await trial, even after controlling for the seriousness of charges and prior record (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics).
Black Americans are also more likely to have their cars searched. Police are three times as likely to search the cars of stopped Black drivers than stopped White drivers. Nationally, Black drivers are also more likely to be pulled over and less likely to receive a reason for being stopped.
Black Americans are also more likely to have their probation revoked:
Unemployment rates and the employment-population ratio also vary by race and ethnicity. In 2016, the overall civilian unemployment rate was 4.9% and 8.4% for Black Americans; the rate for White Americans was 4.3%, and the rate for Latino Americans was 5.8%.
|Unemployment rate and employment–population ratio by major race and ethnicity groups, 2016 annual averages|
|Race or ethnicity group||Unemployment rate||Employment–population ratio|
Unemployment rate and employment-population ratio by major race and ethnicity groups, 2016 annual averages:
|Black or African American||8.4||56.4|
|Hispanic or Latino||5.8||62.0|
Black Americans die at the hands of police at a rate of 7.2 per million, while White Americans are killed at a rate of 2.9 per million.
The Senior Years (65 and older)
Unemployment for Black Americans aged 55+ increased in the 1st quarter of 2018.
Environmental Injustice Across the Lifespan
Black and other racialized minorities, and low income Americans, are also disproportionately paying the price as environmental injustice increases in the United States.