Black pain: We’re dying and we’re hurting

Terry M. Williams | 8/20/2014, 2:19 p.m.
The senseless murder of another unarmed Black man has once again ripped open the wounds of a nation. Treated as ...

The senseless murder of another unarmed Black man has once again ripped open the wounds of a nation. Treated as if we are simultaneously invisible while highly conspicuous, ignored when we are in need and profiled when we are simply proceeding.

The attack on the lives of Black men like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Abner Louima and Oscar Grant serves as a reminder that Black lives in America are not valued. These not so uncommon instances of police extremism often shatter the trust between law enforcement and the people they are meant to protect. It is Black Pain that is simmering under the surface of this allegedly color blind and post-racist country, it is Black Pain that inspires protests for justice, and it is Black Pain that police in Ferguson are attempting to detain and mask. Treating our fellow Americans as anything less than human, undermines the principles we fought for as a nation during the civil rights era.

We've seen this over and over again, where police brutality, directed primarily

toward Black men, often renders the community, collectively and individually, into

an extreme state of shock...it effects our men, our women and our children. According to Dr. Dawn M. Porter, a Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, the trauma that can result from these repeated experiences can lend itself to the development of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which all too often goes unnamed and untreated. An inability to deal with the stress of witnessing blatant injustice of this magnitude, can cause people to act out of unresolved trauma and erupt in rage and anger often in response to a complete sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

Whether you witnessed the murder of Michael Brown, saw the sketches of his bullet

riddled body or listened to the circumstances surrounding his death (his body was

left in the streets for 4 hours and then shuttled away in an SUV-an ambulance was

never called), we have all been deeply scarred by the unnecessary death of this

young man and others like him.

The extraordinary events taken place in the past week have re-opened many wounds and has raised a lot of questions. Are we valued in our own communities? What do we do and where do we go with the pain we are experiencing? How do we begin to heal as a people, as a community, and finally as a nation from such trauma?

The reality is, it is impossible to experience a trauma of this nature and go about

our daily lives as if we didn't just witness and experience the pain of watching

the death of another unarmed brother go thus far unpunished. Seek Help: Consider reaching out to a professional counselor or therapist to help

you process what you feel. There is no shame in getting help. I find that therapy

is the gift that keeps on giving. It helps me to clarify my thoughts and process

heartbreaking situations like this. Counseling can be a necessary lifeline. We