We often hope our society has moved beyond racial issues, and then incidents and situations such as recent events remind us we still have a long way to go. Of course, for many in our community, the effects of racial tension and prejudice are always present. It’s easy to understand their frustration when the rest of the world rediscovers the challenges they live with every day.
As individuals, we may wonder whether we can have any impact on the issues. While we raise our children with resolve to honor all people and improve race relations, and we do our best to model love for all people, change in society has been frustratingly slow.
As Christians, we can’t proclaim our love for Jesus while turning a blind eye to racism and other injustices. After all, He commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We can’t just talk about these issues, pray about them, or share posts on social media. Many people are unaware (or just refuse to notice) the fears and frustrations faced by their neighbors who are black. But if we don’t acknowledge and pay attention to their suffering and anger, we’re effectively telling them their perspective and opinion doesn’t have any value.
We can find direction in the counsel the prophet Isaiah gave us nearly 3,000 years ago: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Although we tend to think of justice as simply treating everyone fairly, God expects us to defend and deliver those in need.
In other words, we need to stand for people who have been wronged, even if we did not commit those wrongs. We need to have the courage to tell those around us that racist comments and behavior are unacceptable. We must intercede to help all people in their moments of need. When we stand against injustice, we show others that we see them as more significant than ourselves.
The team at Care to Change is committed to treating people of every color with dignity. Individually and together, we promise to honor their stories, become their allies, and support them as they move toward the future. We have to be willing to participate in uncomfortable conversations, own up to our own shortcomings, and pledge to continue to be better people. We must stand for justice and provide personal safety for all.
As professional therapists, we’re well aware of the effects of trauma and the other mental health consequences of racial discrimination and violence. Sandra L. Shullman, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, reminds us, “Racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety and other serious, sometimes debilitating conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Moreover, the stress caused by racism can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other physical diseases.”
If you’re feeling the effects of trauma from these events or other situations, please practice self-care. Stay connected to your family, friends, and other sources of support. And if you feel that you may need more help, contact us to set a time to talk.