If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Kimberlyn Foster of For Harriet, give her reasons for supporting Kanye West, you missed a great video making the case for Black folks to end the stigma around mental health issues in our community. She summed up beautifully what so many of us have been inclined to feel watching Kanye West morph into someone largely unrecognizable following the death of his mother, Donda West, almost 10 years ago.
Since we can only speculate, I agree with Foster that finding empathy is the best stance we can take as a community. Learning to practice empathy and being non-judgmental when others are struggling to maintain their emotional and psychological centers is key to the well-being of everyone in our community.
If you are a member of a group that has been marginalized in our society, then you know all too well, what this current political climate will bring. In the past two weeks, we have seen unprecedented attacks against those that are not white, male, straight, and Christian. There have been huge spikes in hate crimes against black and brown people and a parade of white sumpremacists in and out of Trump Tower that will be appointed to advise the actions of the Preseident-elect and head the institutions that are supposed to be protecting and supporting all Americans.
Even though Kanye’s struggles might not look exactly like yours, there is a glimmer of recognition that none of us are exempt from grief that goes unchecked and lingers until we are broken down and busted psychologically. None of us are exempt from the emotional toll of witnesing Black and Brown people being terrorized by violence, whether in the streets of Furgeson or the fields of Standing Rock. None of us know when it will be our turn to ask for empathy, understanding, and a place to rebuild our psyches and our bodies.
Let’s choose empathy. Let’s choose internal peace while we wage an external ideological war for social justice. Let’s choose to hold each other up when one of us grows weary. Let’s choose love of self and our communities as our way forward.
If you or someone you know needs help finding mental health care, call the NAMI Helpline at (800) 950- NAMI(6264) or text NAMI to 741-741.