Over the past 400 years black folks in the US have been – and continue to be – impacted adversely by systemic and legalized racism. Throughout the years there have been civil rights movements and actions. Yes, there has been some progress. Voting rights, de-segregation, educational opportunity. The nightmare of the oppression and violence of our ancestors’ experiences may have lessened – to a degree. But the ideology of centuries’ old white supremacy and privilege exist in the very foundation of this country. Racism is still very much alive in America and is currently on a blatant rise.
We are also facing more than the resurgence of racism. Hidden within our bodies lurks a subtle, unseen malady whose symptoms can manifest as depression, anxiety, addiction, mental health issues, and more. No one has acknowledged the connection between the past traumas of our African Ancestors and how the effects of those traumas are actually physiologically passed down through our generations. Yes, we carry their strengths, their tenacity and determination, their ability to make a way out of no way. But we also carry the remnants of their wounds.
Several studies have been done on WWII Jewish holocaust survivors, but only now is the focus starting to turn toward black and brown folks in America, whose ancestors were packed into ships, bought and sold at auction, branded, beaten, raped, lynched, and ultimately stripped of their humanity over the entire time of the Middle Passage and beyond . It is a legacy that still affects us all today after 400 years.
The study of epigenetics and inter-generation trauma is shedding light on many of the issues that black and brown folks have wrestled with over the past centuries. New and ancient modalities of healing are being utilized to aid us in reclaiming the true radiance of our souls. We are listening to our Ancestors’ voices. We are remembering their ways and incorporating their methods with elements of psychotherapy and we do this healing work within our own communities. And we rise!