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    Community Voices

    Do not interact with me if you believe that equality movements are “no longer needed” | TW mentions of racism, sexism, sexual assault, transphobia

    Also TW for some caps and swearing
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    Some a-hole on a Fandom page claims that equality movements such as Black Lives Matter and MeToo are “no longer needed since it’s popular in Western society”.

    …Excuse me?!

    Black trans women are still being murdered to this day. Many women are still getting raped to this day. And DO NOT SAY “but men get raped too” as an excuse! Yes, it’s sad and it should never happen to ANYONE, but saying that as a combat is just an attempt to excuse the situation or make it seem little. It’s sickening and gross.

    Black folks are still being targeted for racism especially by the authorities. Black churches are burning. Asians were JUST compared to the virus not that long ago and still are today (please don’t say the virus name, it haunts me). Non-white folks and LGBTQ+ folks are still facing unfair challenges such as pay gaps, unequal healthcare, sexist/racist/queerphobic remarks on a day to fucking day basis. Non-binary and genderqueer folks are STILL often ignored in our society.

    Just because they are fucking popular sayings or beliefs DOESN’T MEAN that there are little issues or that they’re “no longer needed”. That is such a horrible, disgusting, pig-ish way to even look at this. These are still big fucking issues that we deal with not just here, but in this world as well. They still exist on a daily basis and it’s hurting many of us, and to say that bullcrap is just so fucking selfish! 😡😡😡

    #blacklivesmatter #Feminism #stopAAIPhate #unfair #triggerwarning #Sexism #Racism #Racism #MeToo #ignorance #anger

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    Community Voices

    #Letters4TransKids - "You Know Who You Are!"

    <p><a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="Letters4TransKids" href="/topic/letters4transkids/" data-id="62634a44b07859002413e466" data-name="Letters4TransKids" aria-label="hashtag Letters4TransKids">#Letters4TransKids</a>  - "You Know Who You Are!"</p>
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    Community Voices

    Black Lives Matter Should Not Be A Trend To White People

    <p>Black Lives Matter Should Not Be A Trend To White People</p>
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    Community Voices

    #CPTSD #CPTSDinrelationships
    2 people with CPTSD in a relationship?

    Honest question to my #CPTSD peeps who are in relationships. Does your partner also have #CPTSD ? #PTSD ? How do you stay present with eachother and support eachother in each of your separate recovery? I am talking to and technically dating my formerly ex-boyfriend who I broke things off with in October so we could focus on recovery and school. I am obviously in a really bad place right now and not in any position to be in a sexual relationship and believe me I’m not. We are actually both #ChildhoodSexualAbuse survivors and both of us have used sex historically in a very dysfunctional way (keeping sex and love separate) and I have set some serious boundaries with him (last time we were together, lockdown set the boundaries for me). Only *hugs* and not even hand holding until sometime AFTER I get back from treatment. He’s doing really well and has honestly been a very important figure in my life for the past week, I was very suicidal and he drew on his own experiences with suicidality and hopelessness and our shared faith in the #Christian God and he has helped me down off a very bad suicidal ledge twice now. He’s doing very well but was not doing well when I broke things off and I guess he came across my picture after I had broken it off and it gave him hope to get back into recovery even though he had no guarantees he’d ever see me again. We understand what eachother is going through and we help and somehow inspire eachother and we’ve known and liked eachother for 3 years. Most of which we were not dating. We are keeping it completely asexual although we are together romantically. We honestly don’t even hold hands or kiss. I told him we may never physically get closer than this and he still wants to be with me and only me. We’ve both been living #asexual lives for years and neither of us have any interest in rushing things or even necessarily ever getting past the hugging stage and not intimate hugs. We have had many conversations about consent over the time we’ve been a couple both before and now. He told m basically No and STOP are both complete sentences and I am completely allowed to say them at any time I’m ever uncomfortable for any reason no questions asked. He’s gentle and a literal gentleman and kind and empathetic and supportive and honestly I’m glad this is happening now BEFORE I go to treatment so it’s something I can work on IN inpatient complex trauma survivors. My safe parents and sister all approve. I actually got a very adorable lecture from my mom last night about how he and I inspire eachother.I for one know he makes me feel chosen and loved in a way I never have with anyone besides him. Any thoughts? Positive/neutral/negative?

    Also any thoughts about how to deal with my fears for his life as a white woman dating a black man post 2020? He tells me not to worry but I can’t help it. This isn’t my first interracial relationship by any means but 2020 really woke me up. I’m a big #blacklivesmatter supporter and 2020 hit me hard.

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    Amanda Lynch

    Read This if You Struggle With Independence Day and Racial Trauma

    “I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.” — Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” July 5, 1852 Independence Day felt heavy and conflicted this year. As the daughter and stepdaughter of Vietnam War veterans and granddaughter of World War II veterans, I’ve always felt a sense of civic responsibility to my country. I fly the American flag on my front porch, because I, too, am America . The blood of free Africans, enslaved Black Americans, and their white enslavers runs freely through my veins and I’ve struggled with the intersectionality of these truths. As Caroline Randall Williams so eloquently stated in her opinion piece in the NY Times last year, “ My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.” As a Black woman living through race-based traumatic stress, I am left to wonder what July Fourth means to me in a country where my life is often devalued because of my race. Where resources for adequate education, mental, physical, and maternal health can often feel so far away for the Black community. What does the Fourth of July mean for those of us who grapple with our place in our country of origin? I was raised to believe that it was my duty to make my community better than I found it, yet I’ve witnessed the inequities that exist in Black and Brown communities throughout the Nation. From touring schools in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina studying socio-politics as a Yale National Fellow to working as a classroom teacher in my own community, I’ve wrestled with America’s broken promise to her Black and Brown sons and daughters. As a Black woman struggling from the effects of anxiety and racial trauma , I’ve felt that my Blackness has been on display my entire life. Growing up in a predominantly white community, I quickly learned how to code-switch as a means of survival. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been a voice at the center of our Nation’s reckoning with race. As the mother of social justice teen activist Ava Holloway , and as a writer and activist myself, I discuss racism as trauma on a near-daily basis guiding white community members through their often discomfort during conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. I’ve wrestled with what it means to be Black in the United States and while Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it took the 13th Amendment, signed December 6, 1865, to abolish American chattel slavery ( except as punishment for a crime ). Even after the enacting of the 13th Amendment, poll taxes, Jim Crow laws, redlining, segregation, gentrification, the housing crisis, rising student loan debt in the Black community, and our Nation’s failed War on Drugs, have all made the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness feel like an uphill battle for Black America. Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort. SAMHSA reports, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. There are glaring disparities and barriers to mental health care. How do we honor the true meaning of July Fourth when there are so many lingering inequalities in our community? Previously , I noted that brain research has suggested for years that racism and poverty are toxic to a developing brain , similar to the impact of alcohol and drugs. Persistent (and historic) oppression, harassment and racial trauma can cause a sense of helplessness and fear among those who experience it. This year, my extended family and I gathered for July Fourth as a time to reflect on life post-pandemic and as an opportunity to celebrate our multigenerational family. July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month which provides an opportunity to discuss the unique challenges facing Black and brown communities and to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental healthcare. Many Black Americans have been left feeling free-ish, but not free over the past year during a great deal of racial civil unrest. We are left grappling with hard truths as we ask ourselves: how do we celebrate the true meaning of Independence Day as we continue to fight for our birthright, our freedom? From the insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol to the endless coverage of police shootings, this year’s Independence Day felt different. It felt complicated. If not now, when is it time to examine the implicit and explicit bias that is intrinsically woven into our Nations’ fabric and in many of our holidays? How do we engage in conversations surrounding the racial trauma and implicit bias rooted in holidays such as Robert E. Lee Day (which is celebrated across the South), Independence Day and Thanksgiving. For those of us who struggle with anxiety  and inner conflict during these holidays, do we move reclaim them in an attempt to celebrate our collective resilience? BIPOC community members — What are your reflections about July Fourth? Do you celebrate our Nation’s freedom or is it just another day to barbecue and spend time with your friends and family? White community members — How can you support members of the BIPOC community who may be struggling with celebrate many of these holidays? As you navigate through your post-July Fourth feelings and Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some additional resources if you find that you are struggling with your mental health . Coping with Stress from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers strategies and resources to help people cope with feelings of isolation, loneliness , stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, while still observing safety measures to help prevent and reduce the spread of the virus. This online resource from mentalhealth.gov provides information on how different groups may discuss mental health and find support. Behavioral Health Equity Resources from samhsa.gov includes data on health disparities and health care quality among diverse populations, and information for improving health literacy and policy as well as cultural and linguistic competency. Coronavirus Guidance and Resources offers guidance to assist individuals, providers, and communities. NAMI has also put together a comprehensive list of Black Mental Health resources.

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    Black Generational Trauma Myths That Need to End

    Black History Month isn’t just a time for reverence or remembrance. We’re also called to celebrate all we’re able to accomplish because of what our ancestors endured. This is why I’m filled with gratitude at all the triumphs we’ve made as a Black community to address and end generational trauma . While there are more chains to be broken and breakthroughs to manifest, we’ve come a long way. Unfortunately, we often miss this. We’re so constantly inundated with stories about the injustice done to Black bodies that we miss the joy, the wins and the excellence that exists right alongside the trauma — that pushes up against it. Our pain is very real, and I’d never seek to dismiss it. Still, as I work to heal the wounds passed down to me and interrupt destructive patterns, it’s necessary to check out of the murkiness and take note of the light. What I’ve learned is we get to shift our conversations from a place of lack, to a place of growth and purpose. We’re not broken people. We’re not a monolith. There are hardworking, innovative and creative individuals who are building and launching new mental wellness initiatives all around the country. There are resources for healing beyond the church doors and outside of hospitals. Here are three myths about generational trauma that need to end now. Myth #1: Black fathers are largely absent. A 2013 CDC study found that Black fathers are more involved with their children than any other racialized identity. This includes reading to their children, being involved in their academic and personal pursuits, and spending time with them. I’ve been intentional about reconciliation with my own father, as I’ve stepped in my own new chapter of being a #girldad. I was largely raised by my paternal grandparents, but, through therapy, I’ve been able to positively reflect on my father’s impact on my education, my love for art and music and my gift of gab. It’s been beneficial to speak with him these days and learn from him, while also holding space for healing needed from a traumatic childhood. To proliferate the reductive narrative of uninvolved and absent fathers is to interrupt the work we’re doing to unravel, address and reverse generational trauma in the Black community. The dad-sized hole is real — I too live with it — but there’s always more to the story. Myth #2: Black Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers don’t care about mental health . I’m personally working on shifting my thinking from: “We didn’t talk about mental illness and therapy growing up” to “My family did the best they could with what they had, all things considered.” I can hold space for both disappointment and reverence. Could I pray the depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) away? No. Did going to church and having a relationship with the Lord help? Absolutely. I wish I could take back all the times I gripped about my upbringing, about how I wish the people who raised me had better emotional intelligence, but I can’t. In my myopic, self-absorbed self, I failed to acknowledge the sacrifice my family made to put food on the table and have all my basic needs met. I failed to acknowledge the ways they successfully navigated (and continue to navigate) a system built for us to crumble. And this is why it’s imperative we position ourselves in the presence of our elders — or memories of them. In them, we’ll see that we’ve been committed to this work of undoing all along, but it hasn’t looked like yoga mats, soul retreats or green juice mixes. It looked like spirituality, intentional investment in community, nutrient-rich soul food, revivals, healing through music and art, and so much more. Working on shifting the narrative from: “we didn’t talk about mental illness and therapy growing up” to “my family did the best they could with what they had – all things considered”. I can hold space for both disappointment and reverence.— Sinclair P. Ceasar III (@Sinclair_Ceasar) February 3, 2021 Myth #3: Black men are not doing the work. In short, yes we are. Here are a few trailblazers working to end generational trauma that you might have not heard about: The Confess Project : This organization is self-described as “America’s first mental health barbershop movement” Founded in 2016 by Lorenzo Lewis , The Confess Project has toured cities all over the county to teach barbers to thread mental health advocacy into their craft. Black Mental Health Podcast : The host, Reginald A. Howard , is a speaker, author and coach based in Pennsylvania. His show has covered topics such as “Stillborn and Infant Loss Support,” “What Black Families Need to Heal” and “Toxic Masculinity and Mental Health . ” Reginald is also a team member of Black Men Heal , which provides Black men with access to therapy, psychiatry and mental wellness education. The Lives of Men : The founder, Jason Rosario , says his creative agency/diversity accelerator was created to “combat the negative stereotypes of Black men perpetrated by law enforcement and mainstream media” and has done this by hosting workshops, classes and conferences. Hurdle : Kevin Dedner says that Hurdle aims to provide culturally competent therapy options for Black men through its app. Each therapist undergoes cultural responsiveness training and coaching before seeing clients. Currently, the company serves clients living in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Men Thrive : Founded and curated by Jeff Johnson , Men Thrive is a community that provides immersive meditation and encouraging podcast episodes with guests like Bakari Sellers, Marc Lamont Hill and Lecrae. Its main aim is to address the “generational toxic stress, depression , and anxiety ” experienced by Black men. If we look for it, we’ll see the reconciliation and change taking place in homes where sunken holes used to exist, in communities formerly forgotten, and in the hearts of current and upcoming generations. See this as a call to action, a call to join the work already being done in your neighborhood, the movements taking place online and the opportunity to undo that which we never asked for: great pain and great suffering. I’m able to wake up each day with hopes of showing up better for my wife and my daughter because I know that all hope is not lost.

    Maya Lorde

    Systemic Racism and Trauma Affects Health Outcomes for Black People

    Racism is killing us. According to the Office of Minority Health, “African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.” Regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, John Hopkins University states that, “while Black Americans represent only about 13% of the population in the states reporting racial/ethnic information, they account for about 34% of total Covid-19 deaths in those states.” What is all this about? Plainly put, Black people are not given equal access to resources and social programs that make good health outcomes possible. The burden of racism is mentally and physically oppressive and makes it hard to bridge the gap between us and those who are not experiencing racism. This makes Black people sicker and, due to no fault of their own, living less healthy lives than their white counterparts. Black people suffer and no community public health campaign is going to change it. The problems are systemic and broad. They are ingrained in our psychology as a nation and they will be inherently hard to root out. Ongoing inequalities in social causes that affect Black people are the result of all kinds of access to care issues, which are interrelated with a range of quality-of-life risks and outcomes. It is infuriating to live in a society when at every turn, the walls are stacked against you. Where no matter where you focus, there is a blind spot. Without systemic interventions, nothing is going to change. Black people will continue to have bad health outcomes, will continue to die en masse from COVID-19 and other chronic illnesses. We are disproportionately affected in the following sectors: 1. Climate change. Consider Hurricane Katrina and how Black people died at higher rates because of lack of investment in infrastructure (levees) in their communities. 2. Housing discrimination. Public housing is confined to poor communities with a lack of resources such as good schools, public transportation, safe neighborhoods and adequate culturally appropriate health care resources. 3. Accessible and culturally appropriate health care. Medical schools and psychology programs are not training Black people in statistically effective numbers to address the gap in resources of Black doctors and psychologists to meet the demand of the communities and to provide culturally appropriate services. Also, according to NPR and Manhattan Institute, “the average non-white school district receives $2,226 less per student, and the persisting achievement gap means Black students are less likely to attend college, thus reducing their lifetime earnings by 65%.” 4. Lack of quality education. Lack of a quality education leads to a gap with peers that may never be bridged, a gap that results in less wealth and access to high-paying jobs which may come with high-quality health care. 5. Community oppression. The stress of oppression in one’s community can be very mentally straining and cause numerous mental problems for the Black person. The impact of oppression is also what leads to poor health outcomes. 6. Lack of access to wealth building. Black people are paid disproportionally less than their white counterparts doing equal work with equal experience. 7. Family income inequality. The average family spends 11% of yearly income on out-of-pocket health care costs, such as office visit copays, prescription drugs and surprise or out of plan medical bills. The average Black family spends 20% of their income annually on these costs. This kind of disparity leads to economic distress that leads to further bad health outcomes. 8. Public perception hurting interventions. The problem of systemic racism is bigger than most people consider even after the high death toll with COVID-19. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation studied attitudes and views around health equity as it relates to COVID-19. The report finds that when asking about systemic racism and it as a barrier to good health outcomes only 42.2% of survey respondents understand systemic racism to be an issues in people of color having poor health outcomes, 32.9% disagree and nearly 24.5% are neutral. Black respondents, by 36 percentage points, believe systemic racism affects the health of people of color. If we do not recognize systemic racism as a problem, we will be powerless to address it or the health inequity it causes. More education is necessary to raise awareness and inform others how they can make a difference. I ask you to consider what you can do to make a difference. What steps can you take to be an ally in this injustice? Sure, you can march, but does that really cost you any social capital? Any personal expense? Here are some things you can do to make a difference: Contact your legislatures about more funding for community health centers, education, affordable housing and criminal justice reform. Lead boycotts of banks that have discriminatory banking practices. Organize your faith community to form an alliance with a faith community in a Black community and champion the cause they see as most important (and fight the urge to take over, lead or judge). Educate yourself on being anti-racist and on systemic inequalities and what role you are playing in them. There is so much that can be done and needs to be done. You have the power to make a difference. Do not just throw your hands up in defeat. Take action to make a meaningful difference.

    Maya Lorde

    The Tuskegee Experiment, Black Americans and COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

    Under the guise of receiving free health care from the federal government of the United States, a syphilis study was conducted by the U.S. Public Health Services at Tuskegee from 1932-1972 on unsuspecting African American men. The purpose of the study really was to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis. These men suffered for 40 years for no reason but the “scientific value” of their health. Please remember there was a perfectly good treatment for syphilis at the time, but the African American men were denied treatment for the sake of research. So, when you ask a Black person today to submit to clinical research, this barbaric study inevitably comes up. I was born the year this all ended, but I was still indoctrinated to be leery of medical research. I did once participate in a research study for mentally ill women who were pregnant and postpartum. They did not, however, give me any medication that I was not already taking or that was experimental. I keep hearing about the fact that Black people are dying at significantly higher rates than Whites from COVID 19. This is of great concern to me, especially since the vaccine the government and pharmaceutical companies are working on is not required by the FDA to have a representative number of Black participants in their studies — they just provide guidance encouraging companies to do so. In an AP poll, only 25% of Black Americans said they were planning on taking the COVID vaccine. How can we possibly convince the other 75% to take it? I spoke to my aunts, who are both in their 80s, and asked if they feared getting COVID-19. They both said yes. But one of them went gambling in Las Vegas in recent weeks, and the other one cannot stay out of Walmart. They are both living in government-designated hot spots. I asked them if they will take the vaccine, and both said no. They said that they are leery of vaccines and that you never know how it is going to affect Black people. This scares me. I want them to live as long as humanly possible, but I am scared they will catch the virus and die. I have even spoken with my therapist about preparing for their deaths. There is that much fear. I began to think about joining a clinical trial, so that there would be Black people in the study and I could set an example to other Black people and they would be encouraged to join. I first thought I needed to ask my psychiatric nurse and my primary care doctor if they thought this was a good idea. This is how they responded: “Dear Maya, I do appreciate your willingness to enter the vaccine trial. My only hesitation is your list of medications. Especially if there are frequent and different changes in medications or dosages, they may not consider you for it. From my medications, we have not made many changes, but I think you had some recent medication changes with your psychiatrist. You can always sign up and go through the process and they can help you decide if it is the right thing to do.” (Primary Care) “Dear Maya, I do not see any problem, but they will do medical rule outs — for instance someone could not participate due to migraines as an example.” (Psychiatric Nurse) They both gave me a lot to think about. It sounds like I would probably be excluded, but they were not certain. My first thought was how could the researchers come up with a viable vaccine if they could exclude sick people and Black people? The very people who are most at risk of dying from the virus. I later mentioned to my closest friends that I was considering joining the trial, and both reacted with, “Are you out of your mind? Have you told your therapist about this? She will absolutely tell you no.” I was struck by their strong reaction and disapproval. No, I had not spoken to my therapist. It had not even crossed my mind why I would tell her. She is not involved in my medical care. I asked my friend why she thought my therapist would tell me no, and she said because “she would worry you have a death wish.” I do not have a death wish, but this did give me something to think about. What really were my motives? Were they what I have outlined here, or is it something else? I agreed to speak with my therapist about it. But after all of this, I think I have changed my mind. I may not do the vaccine trial. What about the vaccine itself? I will take it. I feel I have no choice if I am going to be safe from this virus and ever leave my house, eat at a restaurant, or get on a plane. Maybe I am putting too much faith in my government that they will take care of me. I understand they are considering prioritizing Black people in the distribution of the vaccine. I think that would hurt their cause more than help it. There is already talk by the CDC about making the prison population a priority. We know who is in prison. Black people will feel like the guinea pigs for the vaccine. So, I may not be first in line, but I will cautiously get in line. Tuskegee taught us all a valuable lesson that Black people are still not considered full people worthy of care, respect and dignity. I hope there is never another Tuskegee, but I would not be surprised.

    Maya Lorde

    The Abusive Relationship Between Black People and America

    Black Americans are traumatized by the American community, the socio-economic structure, the justice system, the educational system, the banking system and more. I see us in a trauma bond with The United States of America. A trauma bond is “a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and [their] abuser, formed because of the cycle of violence.” The Dreams of Black Americans Broadly, Americans believe in the American Dream, which Investopedia defines as: “… the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.” As a Black American, I am fraught with how I obtain the American Dream for myself and my community. Blacks are so beaten down by our society that it is hard to imagine that we can have access to this Dream. The Dream is held out by our society as the ultimate goal, but how are we supposed to access it when there is housing discrimination, banking discrimination, pay discrimination, workplace discrimination, educational discrimination and so much more. How do we feasibly access this dream? The Trauma Bonding Process The reason I talk about our trauma bond with America is that we still believe in the Dream regardless of whether it is feasible or not. We are periodically thrown a few scraps, no chokehold laws, the Civil Rights Act, Criminal Justice Reform talk, Affirmative Actions — but these are drops in the bucket. America has effectively said, “no you cannot have it,” but still we persevere as if America will relent and give us access to our basic needs and Dreams. We hope the violence will stop if we give of ourselves to the abuser unconditionally. This has borne out not to be true. Just like when the Black soldiers went to World War I fighting and giving their lives for America and came home to the violence and discrimination they had left. They were not seen as heroes but still as a Black person who deserved no dignity or respect. Black soldiers went back and served in World War II and subsequent wars and nothing has changed. 29% of the women in the military are Black and almost 17% of the men in the military are Black, but we only make up 13.3% of the American population. Why do we continue to enlist and put our lives on the line for a country that still does not honor our service? Taking on the Abuser America has set up a system that will be hard to dismantle. Whites have decided to march next to us these past few months, but are they ready to sacrifice what they must give up for us to have access to the Dream? They blatantly feel the Dream is obtainable for everyone. Their own hard work has paid off, so why not for Blacks, too? They think there is something fundamentally wrong with Blacks that we cannot get ahead. This is not true. There are so many obstacles to the Dream that it is nearly impossible to obtain without great sacrifice to self and psyche, and even then, the Dream is elusive. So, what are whites willing to give up to share the American Dream and give us fair access to it? Do they want affordable housing in their neighborhood? Do they want to bus their kids out of their neighborhoods? Do they want to share their property tax money with underperforming schools? Do they want to pay higher prices at the grocery store so farm hands can get paid a living wage? Do they want to share their wealth? Do they want to pay higher taxes? All of this is what would need to happen and more. Trapped Inside with the Abuser Blacks are trapped. We joke about leaving the country, but we are somewhat serious. We are scared. Where would we go, we wonder? Where would we be welcome? We cannot go home, so to speak. Our culture has been ripped from us so that we do not even feel welcome in the place of our ancestors. Where on earth do Blacks have access to a fulfilling dream? Our home does not welcome us. We are orphans. The Fight Is Real, and We Have No Choice So, we stay here and fight like hell for scraps. Our country did not turn its back on us because the country never faced us face-to-face. It always had it in for us, yet we held onto a promise that we could get ahead. That we could make a way for our children. That we could somehow, someway get access to the Dream; if we just placated our hostage taker they would relent, and we could come out of our bondage. At every turn, the American public — our captors — said no, stay in your place. We are relegated to the margins and that is where we stay fighting for justice for our people and future, still with our hand out to the power structure. We are damned but we must not give up. We do not owe them anything, but they do owe us, and we must continue to fight for justice in the spaces they allow and do not. For more on the Black Lives Matter movement, see these stories from our community.