As a Black woman in America, I needed some time to grieve, feel my feelings, and to think. I am still grieving for the continually careless disregard for human life, especially when those humans have tones of my skin color. I needed to grapple with what I wanted to say and for what purpose I wanted to say it. I needed to sit down and write out some thoughts. I needed to decide which parts of my personal message and which parts of my brand's message would be appropriate to layout on this platform. Ultimately, I decided that this message could not be in isolation. Rather, it will be an ongoing series of articles on this topic. This series of articles will cover important issues such as #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName that are dear my heart as the owner of PlayfulLeigh Psyched.
A Promise to Readers
We will aim not to perpetuate trauma or retraumatize anyone. While there will be links to other readings and videos such as TEDtalks so that readers can learn more as they see fit, we will never repost any video of a person being harmed. We will not post direct links to those videos either. In this series, we will inform our readers of necessary issues, and supply you all with meaningful ways towards healthy change. We will keep your mental health needs and the needs of your children and families at the forefront of our minds. This is our promise to you.
Dying to Breathe
In February 2020, many of us learned of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery (learn more), a Black man who was killed by a former police officer and his son while jogging in his neighborhood. Then came Breonna Taylor. In March 2020, we sat helplessly as we heard reports of the murder of sleeping Breonna Taylor (Learn more), a Black woman and award-winning emergency medical technician (EMT). Many of us eventually heard the heartbreaking 911 call from her boyfriend pleading for help as he thought that intruders had horrifically and callously shot his beloved girlfriend, instead of the police. Compounded by the fact that her boyfriend was wrongfully arrested. Then it came - the heartwrenching, gut-punching video of George Floyd being lynched by police in broad daylight with onlookers pleading to 'let the man breathe'. We saw it. We didn't know what we were watching until it was too late. It was too disturbing to look at yet it was too unbelievable to stop looking. They didn't let him breathe. They killed him. And, all we could do was watch. It was a repeat of 2014 when we watched Eric Garner die while telling his murders, the police, "I can't breathe." Shortly afterward we became enraged as we were faced with grieving for Michael "Mike" Brown (learn more), an unarmed Black teenager killed by police. Enough is enough.
You're Not Alone with Your Complex Emotions
Our hearts at PlayfulLeigh Psyched are heavy. We promote playfulness, self-compassion, and general mental health maintenance especially for Black and marginalized people who have experienced trauma. It is not lost on us that continually watching people be brutalized and murdered on camera is traumatic.
The world was and is experiencing a pandemic and struggling through the emotional, social, physical, and financial effects of a virus that has been deadly for nearly 400K people globally, to date. Then, in a very short period of time, the murders of three Black Americans went viral each with their own trail of injustice. This put America's systemic racism under a microscope for the world to see.
Much of the world is finally rallying for the Black community. We want to stop creating hashtags for people who had their lives taken simply for existing in Black bodies. But, not everyone can physically go to protests. Not everyone has money to donate. Therefore, the 400-year-old problem of systemic institutional racism seems insurmountable. You may feel helpless. You may feel enraged. You may feel guilty. You may feel overwhelmed. In short, you are not okay.
But the system can be changed, and there are steps that you can take towards healing.
What You Can Do
Children's Books are not listed at this time because children benefit when adults are properly educated. Below are books to help start your journey.
How to Be an Anti-Racist - Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria - Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson
"Doing nothing is never enough" ~ Dr. Dowtin
Call public officials about reforming law enforcement
13th - Netflix
Becoming - Netflix
When They See Us - Netflix
The Urgency of Intersectionality - TED & YouTube
Mental health counseling
Leaning on friends/family
This is just the start of this conversation with PlayfulLeigh Psyched. Have more ideas? Share this with others.
Do you or your child need a space to help you understand your feelings and what to do about racial trauma? Ask us about an intake session.