'We're taught to repress': Confronting and healing racial trauma in Bay Area & beyond

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- From coronavirus-related deaths, to job losses, and the ongoing fight for racial justice, these are undoubtedly tough times. But many of our neighbors in marginalized communities are living with racial trauma, many without even knowing it.

Through song and poetry, the Mental Health Association of Alameda County and the Family Education Resource Center (FERC) offered the community a safe space to begin healing Thursday.

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"We're taught to repress... But healing is very important. It's nothing to be ashamed of and we need to tear down the stigma," said Danielle Brewer.

Brewer is referring to the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help in the Black community and other marginalized groups.

That's why the focus of Thursday's event is healing racial trauma.

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"In the past year there was 1,127 deaths due to police brutality. In the past year we saw the Capitol being stormed and taken over by white supremacists. If you are feeling like you are in a dark space, that is racial trauma," said Mary Chestang of the Family Education and Resource Center.

The free event is one of several outreach efforts led by the Mental Health Association of Alameda County in recent months.
The non-profit is doubling down on its efforts to understand and support those dealing with racial trauma, following the high-profile police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor last year.

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"I hope that people do take away a greater understanding of the relationship between racism and mental health," said Kathy Davies Huber, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County.

"Therapy is the best thing I've ever did for myself. And I always tell people that but before I went to therapy, I had to convince myself that it was okay. And that's a problem," said Brewer.

If you are in need of help, here are a list of resources available:

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