Written by Jasmine Boatwright
Being black in America has never been easy. For years we have been subjected to public disrespect, violence, lack of opportunities, and disregard of our lives from those paid to support us. Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland Tamir Rice Trayvon Martin George Floyd are only a handful of those killed by those paid to support us. Injustice has been a walking reality for Blacks in America beyond the police departments, it’s everywhere. Black people have been mistreated by our judges and legal officials, doctors, nurses, landlords, gas station workers, and liquor store owners, just to name a few. This type of racism and bias has always been ingrained as a way of life in America.
Throughout the years I have had several encounters that have caused me to question whether or not the color of my skin has limited my educational growth, employment opportunities, and basic relationships with those around me. I, like most Black people in America, unfortunately, have to live with the discomfort and fear of not knowing when the color of my skin will become the very thing that creates a life or death situation for me. American has taught us to believe that this is the way of life and there is nothing that can be done; but that’s not true.
Below are some ways to support during this time beyond educating yourself and posting on social media. Here are a few other things that you can do:
- Check your own personal bias. Think about your actions and behaviors when engaging those that may not be like you.
- Create space for conversations around race at home, work, or out in the community conversations around race.
- Think big picture when voting. Oftentimes we vote for a politician that fits our political agenda around basic needs like mental and physical health care, financial opportunities, policy reform, etc. Remember Blacks make up about 14% of the population in America. There is a need for allies, for others to include racial issues as a part of their political agendas that are NOT Black.
- Document. When you witness racial injustices, racially charged actions, and behaviors; document them. Videos and audio recordings on social media have helped to bring to light things that have happened to Blacks in this country for years. When you notice things happening you can help by intervening, gathering license plate numbers, descriptions, providing statements to attorneys, connecting, and advocating with those who are wronged.
For other tips checkout some of our other blogs:
Right now It may feel harder than ever to process it all and you are not alone. Below you will find resources dedicated to supporting positive black mental health.
The Safe Place This is an app dedicated just for African-Americans and how they can learn more and think about their mental health. The creator, Jasmine Pierre, is a certified peer support specialist, and has the app offer a forum, statistics specifically about black mental health, and inspirational quotes. There are also self-care tips for things such as coping with police brutality, how to talk to black family members about mental health, and mental health in the black church.
Therapy for Black Men The main focus of this website (run by mental health professional Vladimire Calixte) is to provide a directory for African-American men to access therapists who they can trust with offering services that will be beneficial to them. The search gives you the option to get more advanced beyond searching just by location, including therapists’ specialties, treatment options, and if they provide therapy remotely. The site also has a coach directory and a blog.