When there is social injustice, we grieve the loss of many things including humanity, respect for life, fairness, freedom, inclusion, choice, power, safety, dignity, and the senseless death of anyone because of their culture.
It is important for grief resources to be available to all who need them.
By Cathy Cheshire
I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s in California. My parents never spoke about social issues. During early elementary school in San Diego, I only noticed later looking at a group class photo that I was one of the few white female students. I did a book report on Dr Martin Luther King Jr in about 5th grade. The horrifying descriptions of what I read about seemed impossible. I felt relieved to be living in better times. Through high school in San Jose, students came from diverse cultures, and most got along well.
As a young adult, an African American co-worker I admired as a minister’s wife and kind person lovingly but firmly let me know I had an incorrect view of racial reality and it was hurtful to ignore it. She told me about what she had personally experienced in her life. I don’t remember what I had said to her, but I will never forget how insensitive I felt. I told her I was sorry and thanked her for telling me. I saw the value and importance of becoming informed. I now pay attention to what I say and have focused on being culturally competent and anti-racist.
Social justice, also known as social equality, social progress, and restorative justice, is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society, as measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. It refers to ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society.
White privilege refers to societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
Systemic racism describes inequality of relations, resources, rights, and power embedded in a society founded as racist.
Not seeing color, referencing being color blind, or saying people are people to express seeing the inherent worth of an individual regardless of skin color may come across as dismissing real-world issues and make individuals not feel seen.
Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. Gordon W Allport, PhD, Psychology, developed a scale of prejudice including:
- Negative verbal remarks
- Physical attack
White Racism is the socially organized set of attitudes, ideas, practices, and institutions that deny African Americans and other subordinated racial groups the privileges, resources, opportunities, and rewards offered to white Americans. It includes racial attitudes and ideologies that motivate or rationalize discriminatory practices and actions.
Anti-racism differs from non-racist because it includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. AntiRacismCenter.com
PODCAST Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist
White ally means a white person acknowledging the limits of their understanding of racism without using it as an excuse. Racism in any way is exposed, confronted, and challenged as it comes up.
Defund police refers to some wanting lawmakers and elected officials to move some money from the law enforcement and prison part of government budgets and use it for vital services like affordable housing, employment, medical health, mental health, and education in communities that need it most. They feel attempts to reform practices have failed and aggressive policing of petty matters punishes poverty, causes unrest, and can lead to more crime. Some seek reasonable reductions and others want to completely change contemporary police services.
What can be done
- Celebrate solidarity
- Challenge your own stereotypical beliefs
- Contact state and local officials demanding equal justice
- Donate to families affected by social injustice
- Donate to organizations advancing social justice
- Express how much you care
- Get involved with social justice organizations
- Get to know other cultures
- Lead by example
- Learn from inspiring empowering social justice leaders
- Peacefully protest
- Perform cultural acts of kindness
- Sign petitions for ending social injustice
- Speak out in personal relationships against racism
- Speak out publicly against racism
- Teach children from children’s books on racism
- Vote for those who will advance evidence-based reforms
Black Lives Matter
“If my spouse comes to me in obvious pain and asks, ‘Do you love me?’, an answer of ‘I love everyone’ would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co-worker comes to me upset and says ‘My father just died,’ a response of ‘Everyone’s parents die,’ would be truthful, but hurtful and cruel in the moment. So, when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says. ‘Black lives matter,’ a response of ‘All lives matter,’ is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.” – Doug Williford
Black lives matter is a statement meaning they also matter, not that they matter and others do not.
The Starfish Story
A man was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the beach littered with starfish. He noticed a small boy and asked why he was throwing starfish into the ocean. The boy said the tide had washed them onto the beach and when the sun gets high, they will die unless he throws them back into the water. The old man replied that there must be tens of thousands of starfish on the beach and the boy wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference. The boy threw another starfish as far as he could into the ocean as he smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
Instead of thinking, we can’t change the world, we can recognize how we can change a small part of it for someone.
Follow and learn from local, national, and international social justice leaders who resonate with and inspire you.
President Barack Obama
Obama.org Anguish and Action Working to help leaders change their world – and the world needs changing.
Dr Bernice King
Bernice Albertine King is an American minister and the youngest child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was five years old when her father was assassinated.
“If you don’t deal with it, ‘IT’ will deal with you!” – Dr Bernice King
TheKingCenter.org Preparing global citizens to create a more just, humane, and peaceful world using Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology (Nonviolence365®).
Darcy Harris PhD
Resmaa.com Healer, Author, Trauma Specialist, Moving from race to culture is important, transformative, and takes work. A lot of work. I help people, communities, and organizations find strength in healing that is holistic and resilient. Together let’s set a course for healing historical and racialized trauma carried in the body and the soul. I am a healer. I help people rise through the suffering’s edge. I am a cultural trauma navigator. I am a communal provocateur and coach. I consider it my job in this moment to make the invisible visible.
“We can’t help ourselves even begin to heal racialized trauma if we don’t acknowledge that it even exists” – Resmaa Menakem
Dr Thema Bryant-Davis
DrThema.com Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a licensed psychologist, ordained minister, and sacred artist who has worked nationally and globally to provide relief and empowerment to marginalized persons.
Association for Death Education and Counseling
June 3, 2020
Together we mourn…
Together we mourn the death of Mr. George Floyd.
Together we mourn the deaths of countless, yet not nameless, others.
Together we mourn the non-death losses others have experienced in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s murder.
Together we mourn that the family of Mr. Floyd needed to push their grief aside in an attempt to bring healing and peace to those hurting for what this death represents.
Together we mourn that racism and prejudice is not a thing of the past, but a clear and incredibly present danger in our society, both explicitly and implicitly.
We do not just grieve these deaths and non-death losses, but we mourn. Together. Symbolically, through public rituals and memorials. As each of us is working with our clients, our patients, our students, and our own families – now – more than ever, we may feel or be isolated.
But know this, you are not alone. We are an association, a community, and a professional family, and we stand together. We stand for one another. And we stand for all of humanity. We stand against discrimination, racism, and injustice.
ADEC strives to be inclusive of all, and we seek fairness in how every single person is treated. To this end, we have recently focused on rebuilding our Diversity committee, using individual peer-to-peer mentorship whenever possible, and by encouraging participation of members in leadership roles to ensure all voices are represented and heard.
Eckhart Tolle Foundation Recommended Organizations
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Dream Corps #cut50
Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP)
Holistic Life Foundation
Please email Info@CathyCheshire.com to recommend a resource.
Cathy Cheshire disclaims, is not liable for, and does not personally guarantee in any way this public information provided as a convenience.