#BlackLivesMatter: A Foundation of Self-Care

RAFT Team, June 10, 2020

The following is a message to Black Advocates from Esteniolla Harbor, RAFT Team Member. Read her message to White Advocates HERE.

“Could there be anything stressing you out lately?” the ER doctor asked during a flurry of diagnostic questions.

Sarcastically, I replied, “No, Doctor. COVID and protests bring me great peace.”

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others by police are devastating. So much so that a CAT scan, a chest x-ray, and pain killers could not diagnose my broken heart. That’s what awoke me in a cold sweat at 4am from my sleep. That’s what gripped my chest with sharp pain. That’s what made it difficult to simply….breathe. 

By design, racism robs us of our self-care. We watched our parents work themselves to death. We experienced  medical negligence in hospitals. We saw our Black fathers, brothers, and partners shrink at the sound of a police siren. We grew up hearing stories of violent acts against Black ancestors and, sadly, we can witness such acts today. 

Beloved, you are an advocate in the business of fighting for justice every day.  I, and the RAFT team, thank you for doing so amid COVID-19 and white supremacy.

And we also encourage you to take deep care of yourself. #BlackLivesMatter is not only a resounding truth, it is also the foundation of our self-care. 

BREATHE 

Yes, that’s right. Reclaim breathing as the source of life and not the gasping sounds of police brutality. Take intentional breaths throughout the day. Notice and meditate on what makes you feel alive, hopeful, and joyful.

GRIEVE

Releasing your feelings is so important to healing. Cry in the arms of a trusted friend or partner. Dance until the rage subsides. Write until the ink runs out. Laugh until your heart is light. We all grieve differently; choose what works best and decide that your body will not be the final resting place for your grief. 

SET & STICK TO YOUR BOUNDARIES

Suddenly, white people in your life are showing an interest in all things racism and how it impacts your life. It’s okay to engage on your terms and it is okay to flat-out say no. If you struggle with the latter, here’s a useful way to do it

RETREAT

Take a break from social media. Turn off the news. Take a personal day off work. And then, plug into what feeds your mind, body, and spirit. 

ACT

If it makes sense for you to take action as part of your self-care, do it. Attend a peaceful protest. Lend your advocacy to racial justice organizations in your area. Call your local representatives to demand police reform. Support Black restaurants and businesses. 

 

Any action you try is one ripple in a sea of long-awaited justice in this country, and it must include the effort to take care of you.