During this time where black people are being slain left and right, there are racist attacks on campuses across America, and the language surrounding black bodies is incredibly harmful, it is only my obligation to remind my people to remain healthy. In light of racist happenings on American University's campus, I have protested and done interviews with news stations; but in doing this, I've reached a point where I realized that mental health in the black community is detrimental to this fight. We must take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Mental health in the black community is hardly talked about, yet many of us are in need for mental healthcare that we aren't getting in order to ensure our culture accepts us. If you have not been diagnosed with a mental health illness, there is still a responsibility you have to yourself to check in and see if you are okay. I have had to do this very same thing in recent weeks. Between moving into college, hearing of assault on campus, and seeing black people being killed by law enforcement, I have had to stop and honestly ask myself "Are you okay? Are you in the mental space to continue?" After much deliberation, I've decided that the answer is yes. And the reason has nothing to do with me but everything to do with the people surrounding me.
My friends at American University have been an essential part in my deciding to continue. We all have similar realities: we all are attending a predominantly white institution, we are all away from the safety of our homes, and we are all trying to find a group of friends we can rely on. Being able to relate and talk about our environment first as students, then as black students, and finally as women has played an intricate role in my mental stability. Secondly, my family has been everything to me in the past and still is. When news broke out about the racial assaults on American U's campus, my grandmother, aunts, uncles, parents, and siblings called me and made sure I was OK.
I will never forget the conversation I had with my mom the day following our huge protest at AU to combat racism on campus. I flopped on my bed, tired and emotional. I was on the verge of tears because for the life of me, I could not understand why we were still having to fight, still having to protest, still having to mobilize. As I wallowed in sadness and anger, my phone began ringing. I answered and just hearing my mom's voice immediately put me at ease. She told me that she was just thinking about me, and that she knew for a fact I was fulfilling my purpose, and to not let anything, anybody, or anyone tell me otherwise.
So, black folks, as we continue through this healing, we must remember to remain mentally healthy. Locate your safe spaces, attend healing circles, and never forget to laugh. Laughter will be the only way we remain peaceful and healthy. I love all of you! Stay healthy, stay bold, and stay black.