“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.” – Kofi Anan
I have spent the majority of this week being aware, listening, helping, treating, educating, understanding, and reflecting. Reflecting about diversity, inclusivity, adversity, access, voice, and purpose.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always considered myself to be a global citizen. My actions impact others and others’ actions impact me. If there is one thing that this pandemic and this difficult time have taught us, it’s that we are all interconnected.
And as diverse as we all might be, we are all part of one human race. Diversity is beautiful. As a society, we must work hard to appreciate, learn, understand, and celebrate our differences, whilst recognizing that at our core, we really have so many similarities.
“When the founders of our country wrote the Constitution, they began with three revolutionary words: We the People. They began with the extraordinary idea that the future of a country is its people’s future—and their fate will be its fate. This is an idea that invests in citizenship a profound majesty, an individual dignity, and a lifelong responsibility of each man and woman to one another. This is an idea that invests in equality the assurance that when opportunity is shared, it desolations not divide but rather multiplies, advancing the horizons of each individual and each industry. This is an idea that testifies powerfully to the truth that when we turn our backs on one another, we turn the world against us, and we leave ourselves each to fight alone… but that when every man and woman’s plight is our plight, then we find at every had brothers and sisters to fight for us, and at our sides. This idea—e pluribus unum— out of many, one— insists that through our sacred bond with one another, a people can climb to a height undreamt of by the tyrannical past, and that in that light, all rights, human rights and civil rights, rights of law and rights on conscience, are, at the beginning and the end, what makes us all one, together.” - Harry Belafonte
We can, will, and have to do better. The future of our nation and this world depend on it. What changes will you work toward today?
Kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. With my physician colleagues. In solidarity. Remembering those who have lost their lives due to racial injustice. I pledge to do my part—to listen, learn, reflect, and advocate.
– Dr. Shivani Chopra
WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT SAY TO A RACIAL TRAUMA SURVIVOR? When it comes to how to respond to racial trauma survivors, the single most important thing to remember is validation. Validation, or the act of recognizing that an individual’s emotions and perspectives about a situation are valid, is extremely important for one who is looking to offer support. Many racial trauma survivors feel a wide range of emotions including, but not limited to: anger, guilt, shame, anxiety, frustration, depression, and confusion. Statements that are invalidating can minimize many of these emotions and them worse. In addition, they don’t allow for survivors to cope with their emotions in their own space and time. Examples of invalidating and minimizing statements that one should not say to racial trauma survivors include:
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”
“Come on, it couldn’t have been that bad.”
“It’s time to move on. You’re stronger than this. “
“What did you do to create this situation?”
“Stop acting like the victim. You are a survivor. “
“This happened to so and so, and s/he is fine, so you’ll be fine too.”
“Stop being so negative.”
“I can’t be here or help you anymore.”
“When will you stop acting like this?”
“It’s really depressing to be around you.”
“This is just life. It happens to all of us.”
Is there anything else you would add?