By: Amira Mensah, Development and Communications Associate
With chains wrapped firmly around their feet and hands, our ancestors stepped off slave ships into a life of unthinkable struggle. As they worked to build this nation, strength and resilience built in them.
The end of chattel slavery wasn’t an end to our struggle. The keloid scarring left from brutal whippings from slave owners have turned into bullet holes from the guns of police officers. Free labor on slave plantations has turned into insultingly low wages for labor within the prison industrial complex. Slave rebellions are now protests. The fight for freedom remains.
The physical and psychological degradation of Black people has continued over centuries. The racism we suffer daily is intended to lead us to our demise.
“To be asked to speak the unspeakable, to be asked to describe the indescribable takes a people who are unconquerable. That's my people, Black people” explains HCN Executive Director Dr. April Y. Silas.
How are we able to stand tall and united in the face of adversity? How are we able to find success in a system designed for us to fail? How are we able to find joy in the midst of our anguish?
From our struggle comes our strength. The strength we possess is a rare strain found only in our DNA. It is with this strength we were able to withstand the journey across the Atlantic, build this nation and continue to fight for equality.
The psychological strength of Black people is one that cannot be explained or rationalized. Despite the devastating impact of racism, we find and share ways to heal our racial trauma. At HCN, through our Ma’at program, Black clinicians work with Black children and families to address intergenerational trauma brought about by racism, oppression and inequity.
With our strength we find hope. We are hopeful that the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will manifest into reality. We are hopeful that Black women will no longer have to ask the same question Sojourner Truth asked. We remain hopeful that the Black experience once written by James Baldwin can and will be re-written.
This Black History Month, HCN celebrates the history and the future of our strength.