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  • Writer's pictureSista Afya

We will not lose: Combating Mental Warfare

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

- Maya Angelou

The Black experience in America has been a constant war of attacks against our minds, bodies, and spirits. In this time of great uncertainty, confusion, violence, and hate, I am bearing witness to another intentional attack on our minds. On social media, people are constantly posting about the next executive order, the next series of repressive measures to damage our psyche and our functioning in everyday life. Especially being in the social work field, I am inundated with the multiple levels of oppression through which my participants experience. In every space that I enter the topic of conversation is about the devastating actions that are being taken against marginalized groups within the US.

Everyday marginalized people are living and breathing in a country that never forgets to remind us that we are not worthy of protection, love, and humanity. Many of us cannot go a day by without thinking about how we will survive this catastrophe of a nation.

Yesterday, while I was providing support to someone who was overwhelmed by all of the layers of the oppression, I told her to do something everyday to remind her that she is love and worthy of a life free from the current madness. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed by all of the attacks, we can forget that we are worthy of life without the warfare- that we can do small things everyday to strengthen, love, and keep hope within ourselves.

I often despise when people have the defeatist viewpoint that because we are Black we will always suffer. From years of cyclical attacks from previous to current generations, some of us have come to the conclusion that there is no hope for us and life will continue to be full of war and suffering for our people. We can exhibit this is our daily activities and in how we think about the world - and that plays into what the oppressor wants.

I will never forget that I am here because someone in my lineage had the will to live in the most impossible of times. Someone who could have never dreamed that my life could be possible, held onto their humanity and decided to show themselves worthiness of love and care under circumstances where hopelessness was everywhere.

All around me, in the midst of this madness of America, I am inspired by the will, courage, love, and strength that I see every day in and outside of Black communities. I refuse to be bogged down mentally by those who cannot and will not respect my humanity. The least I can do to honor myself and my ancestors is to constantly affirm my life with people, thoughts, images, sounds, and spaces that center the beauty of my humanity.

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