September 25, 2009

Why can't you just get over it?

I get that question a lot. Slavery and Jim Crow are history. Why do you have to keep bringing it up?  Why can't you just get over it?

The reason is that our past as a people has a powerful effect on our present. As psychologists Brenda Lane Richardson and Brenda Wade have put it, "our history didn't just happen to a group of anonymous people. These people were our ancestors and, in many respects, they are part of us."*

Many of the feelings, beliefs, and attitudes of our enslaved ancestors have been handed down to us--like family heirlooms. Much of what they passed on to us is good. Their legacy has enabled the Black community to make extraordinary strides in the forty plus years since the official end of segregation. But many of the beliefs and attitudes we have inherited continue to hold us back. Even in the year 2009, it is not unusual for a Black person to let slip some statement about "good hair," or a remark describing light skin far more favorably than dark skin, or some self-deprecating comment about what Black people cannot do intellectually.

These and other negative beliefs will not disappear by themselves. We need to work on freeing ourselves--and our children--from them. We need to put "time for healing" on our calendars.

We hope you are making plans to observe on the third weekend of October--to celebrate healing for Black people and to work on overcoming the myths that keep us from reaching our full potential. As Dr. Maya Angelou, Chair of the Community Healing Network Board of Advisors, says "take a day to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you."

Save the dates. Put "time for healing" on your calendar.
October 16, 17, and 18, 2009
Celebrate Community Healing Days: Seeing Ourselves in a Whole New Light

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Please spread the word. Forward this email to your family and friends. We look forward to hearing from you.


Enola Aird
President, Community Healing Network, Inc.