Marisol Muñoz-Kiehne PhD

Globally and locally, people of color are often impacted by prejudice, discrimination, inequality and injustice due to the color of their skin. The damaging effects of racism are accentuated for Afro-descendant and indigenous persons, and of late, those of Asian descent.

In obvious and subtle ways, people whose complexions do not seem Caucasian are injured, in private and in public, when driving and walking, at school and at work, on broadcast and social media. These assaults, coming from known people or from public agents, hurt and harm, at times with tragic consequences.

Scientific studies’ findings indicate that attitudes and acts based on racism adversely influence the self-perception of people of color and are sources of persistent stress, precipitating debilitating physical and psychological symptoms. Actions stemming from racism trigger fear, anger, anguish, anxiety, depression. Numerous psychological investigations reveal that people affected by discrimination on account of race suffer more symptoms of mental illness than those who are not.

Persistently facing contempt, barriers when it comes to housing, studying, working, voting, and expectations based on erroneous ideas about one’s aptitudes and abilities wound and scar. Receiving or witnessing abuse can be traumatizing, and the effects are cumulative.

How to counteract these destructive influences? How to protect and promote well-being despite prevailing prejudices?  We can respond by growing our knowledge through education, our compassion through dialogue, and our impact through civic action.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Learn about our and other races by reading and listening to trustworthy perspectives.
  2. Engage with people, places, and activities that reflect the strengths of people of color.
  3. Support groups and organizations that represent the contributions of people of color.
  4. Respond to racist attitudes and actions with awareness, intelligence, avoiding violence.
  5. Assist those who have lost hope due to experiences of injustice based on racism.
  6. Honor the memory of those who have lost their lives to racist acts.
  7. Join community efforts that promote equity and racial justice.
  8. Defend the human and civil rights that belong to everyone living in the United States.
  9. Vote for leaders that promote anti-racist policies and practices.
  10. Contact our Oakmont Standing for Justice club leaders Kathie Weston (kathiew46@yahoo.com) or Robin Jurs (robinjurs@gmail.com) to unite with us in education, dialogue and civic action.

May we remember that silence and passivity are complicity. It is up to each of us to act in ways that counter the dangerous and powerful public health pandemic of racism.

As civil rights leader César Chávez said: “From deep need and despair people can work together, they can organize to solve their problems and satisfy their needs with dignity and strength.”

For humanity’s sake, may we remain hopeful, participating, protesting peacefully, and persevering in unity, solidarity, and community.

Join us in building our new club in Oakmont, Standing for Justice.  We welcome the participation of any and all folks who want to oppose racism, here and elsewhere.  

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