How to Be An Ally

Recognizing Racial Trauma in the Shadow of Violence and Death

Being an Ally

Coming soon is a series of How to Be A Cultural Ally online discussions where we can discuss, educate, and support one another. It’s important to remember that people come from diverse backgrounds. Some of those people will be feeling increased anxiety and even growing distrustful. In order to be an ally, we encourage you to research some of the stories in the media and other studies, so you are prepared and informed.

As you know, studies have shown the damaging psychological and physiological effects of micro-aggressions and other types of racial trauma such as the events below. At Sound, we are all about addressing the whole person, and it’s vital to be aware of the many factors that are affecting mental and physical well-being.

Additionally, In the last three weeks, three racially charged incidents have affected many people in significant ways. Two of the incidents resulted in the death of two African American men. The other altercation resulted in the firing of a white female executive in New York after a video went viral.

The death of one African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the altercations between Amy Cooper, the white woman, and Christian Cooper, an African American man, created media headlines and also raised anxiety levels and generated anger in communities of all racial backgrounds.  Consequently, these have also heightened an already existing distrust of law enforcement in many communities of color and, in some cases, this distrust and anger have spilled over into city streets in the form of protests and even riots based on the incidents noted below:

A “Citizen’s Arrest” that Results in Death

Just a month ago, three white Georgia men were arrested for murder involving Ahmad Arbery, an African American jogger who was shot to death after the men claimed he was a suspect in a string of home burglaries. The men were making a “citizen’s arrest.”

“I Can’t Breathe!”

In Minneapolis, a police officer kept his knee on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd who was a forgery suspect.  The officer held his knee on the man’s neck for seven minutes as Floyd gasped, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd died and the four officers involved in the call were all immediately fired. Now, communities are calling for murder charges to be brought against the officers and community members in Minneapolis have been staging protests.

Altercation in New York City

“An African American man is threatening my life,” screamed Amy Cooper into her cell phone after Christian Cooper asked her to follow dog leash laws and leash up her pet. As she began dialing, Amy warned Christian, a birdwatcher, that she would tell police an African American man was threatening her life.

Here’s the video:

Please understand that Sound isn’t taking a stance for or against law enforcement.  The intent of this article is to provide awareness and resources to assist in communication.


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