Floyd’s slaying, along with a series of killings of other Black Americans, has wrought a heavy toll on the emotional and mental health of Black communities burdened by centuries of oppressive systems and racist practices. Mental health experts say the racism that causes the trauma is embedded in the country’s fabric and can be directly linked to the mental duress many experience today.
Black Men Heal co-founder Zakia Williams was deeply moved as she watched a young Black man become emotional while speaking about the mental health toll the past few years have taken on him, AP reports.
“He said ‘I just want to play basketball without fear of getting shot, I just want to live. I just want to be,’” Williams recalled the young man saying at a virtual group therapy session, Kings Corner, that her Philadelphia-based group holds weekly for Black men across the U.S. and internationally.
“A lot of our men report being overwhelmed, tired and feeling like they’re being attacked. They see themselves in George Floyd. Each one of them says, ‘That could have been me.’”
Wednesday marks the second anniversary of Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer, which sparked a global protest movement and calls for a racial reckoning to address structural racism that has created long-standing inequities impacting generations of Black Americans.
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