To do trauma informed care requires us to engage in anti-racist work.
Racism is a public health crisis.
Racist practices and policies traumatize and then retraumatize and then the impact is used as a vulnerability to exploit.
We cannot realize, recognize, respond, or resist retraumatization if we don’t repair by acknowledging and grieving the harms of the past and present.
We need to realize the intersection of the pandemic and the war on race—the burden it is to carry and how it’s creating a hyper vigilant and always on alert new normal level of functioning.
We need to understand the importance and history of protest and rioting. That for some, mainly whites, this “freedom” is exercised as a right. For blacks, it’s a breaking point and indicates being fed up.
Our work has to be anti-racist, anti-oppressive, culturally sustaining, healing, and trauma informed.
In trauma informed systems and organizations all voices are valued, power is shared, practice based evidence is elevated, and healing and belonging are centered.
Trauma informed care directs us to ask What has happened to you? versus What is wrong with you? We need to also add What have we (systems and organizations) done to you?.
But, be alert to people wanting to do trauma informed care work instead of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work because they don’t want to talk about racism. Or people wanting to focus on resilience instead of trauma because that feels better. We need all of this wisdom and work and when we center DEI, all will flourish.
Let’s start a record so we don’t forget what has been possible as a result of COVID-19, what we have learned about disparity, and what we say we will do to fight racism. It is typical (a strong pull even) to return to the familiar—even if it was not helpful or even harmful. We can’t let that happen.
Following is a list of resources (that we will continue to add to). We hope they are useful to you as you continue the work of trauma informed care.