Processing a Tragedy and Acknowledging the Pain

As we continue to process the hateful terrorist act bestowed upon African Americans in Buffalo by an individual not yet even a man, we wonder what’s next. Cognizant of the anger, fear, and distrust, I question my own responsibility in alleviating systemic injustices endured by all people viewed as “other.”

While science confirms that we are all 99.9 percent genetically identical, I wonder why unfounded dehumanizing beliefs continually pass down through generations. I know the answer is incredibly complex. I also know that we must open our hearts and minds to those who are open to meaningful conversations.

In the past few decades, prominent psychologists of color confirm that racial trauma leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, and other serious psychological conditions. Their research shows that racism against people of color chips away at their emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.

My hope is that we can channel all of that anger, stress, and pain to spur meaningful action and effect change. No one should be denied healthy food, housing, healthcare, safety, and justice. We must want for others what we want for ourselves and recognize our shared humanity.

Please watch our ongoing televised community conversations listed on page 37. Please share your ideas. We are so grateful to BestSelf Behavioral Health, Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, Cara Mia Pet Resort, Circuit Clinical, Community Services for Every1, Endeavor Health Services, Horizon Health, Medical Society of the County of Erie, National Federation of Just Communities, People Inc., and Spectrum Health & Human Services for making them possible.


Annette Pinder