We are witnessing a historic time in the history of the planet and our country. ALL have been severely challenged by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, yet the populations disproportionally affected with deaths, were poor communities of color. The statistics of inequity in healthcare and economics, shamefully laid bare.
In the events of the past few weeks, the pandemic of institutionalized violence and trauma experienced over centuries by our African American sisters and brothers, became horrifyingly clear for all to see: George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Amy Cooper vs. Cooper.
These names, appallingly, only the most recent statistics in thousands and thousands of instances of brutality and injustice. Despite the pandemic concerns, and very much like Covid-19 inciting an autoimmune cytokine storm, we are seeing a massive, reflexive, protective autoimmune response of our country (and cultures worldwide) responding to blatant injustice– inciting a cytokine storm of protests and demands for healing of root causes.
Trauma and violence have generational impacts on our immune system and nervous systems and changes physiology- no matter the color of your skin. (See section below on ACES). If your skin happens to have a higher percentage of melanin- the ONLY biologic difference that defines “race”, then your likelihood of chronic illness and shorter lifespan is that much greater.
As a Functional Medicine physician, looking at whole systems in health and well-being, I understand that the health of the individual is closely tied to the health of the society and culture in which we live. I must be willing to educate myself in how I can do better. How can I identify the areas of my own ignorance and unwitting contributions to perpetuating the racism that has existed in our society, in medicine, in inequitable care?
I have a responsibility to use my words for justice and reparations. I found the following short resources articulate and unflinching voices of truth. I invite all of you to dig far, far deeper. Follow these leading voices into uncovering the impact of systemic racism and trauma on ALL of us- no matter our heritage. In listening, opening our hearts and then taking action, we can contribute to the healing and creation of a new culture based on all of us being members of the same HUMAN race.
Emmanuel Acho NFL football star and ESPN host: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man- answers common questions about protests and riots for his white brethren. Click here to watch his video.
Trevor Noah– political commentator and host of The Daily Show shares his thoughts on the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again. Click here to watch his video.
Dorothy Roberts– Global scholar, University of Pennsylvania civil rights sociologist, and law professor exposes the myths of race-based medicine. Click here to watch her video.
Jane Elliott, white, 50 years as a teacher and diversity trainer on combating racism. Talks about her “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise,” the construct of ‘race’ and what everyone can do in the fight against racism. I invite you to watch as many of her videos as possible! Click here to watch her video.
– Therapist and trauma specialist working with old wisdom and new science talks with Krista Tippet of On Being podcast about all we condense into the word ‘race’ and the legacy of centuries of generational trauma for ALL races, while offering us practices to begin change at a cellular level. Listen to his podcast here.
As above, generational trauma and adverse childhood events, commonly called ACE’s are one of the MAJOR factors predisposing to every kind of lifelong serious illness: cardiovascular, autoimmune, neurologic, psychiatric, cancer and others. We now know trauma is passed generationally through epigenetic changes to our DNA, impacting our physical and metabolic health for a lifetime.
Witnessing or experiencing violence, being neglected, growing up in household’s with alcoholism, emotional abuse, psychiatric illness and untreated PTSD, food insecurity, chronic illness or financial instability are examples. Even your parent’s nasty divorce could now be causing your health problems. The good news is that we can rewire and heal old trauma!
We dig deeper into trauma and the effects on your immune system in our blog post: ACE’s and Your Health, a new look at your childhood experience and your health issues today. We also cover the concept of fight, flight or freeze and the role of the vagus nerve, something you may have not considered before. We show you how and why it affects inflammation in the body. We also offer some ideas on how to regain your health from being affected by ACEs. This is one blog post you will want to share with siblings!
I discuss how the brain can get stuck in patterns that are now affecting our health and on the many solutions available. Join me in Listening to my interview at the Trauma- Mind Body Super Conference. I will be joined by other experts such as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Joe Dispenza, and Dr. Christiane Northrup will discuss how your body has held on to experiences and how it could be affecting your health today. The conference is free to attend, June 29-July 5th. Please sign up for this critical and lifesaving information to help us prevent PTSD and heal from our current global societal pandemics! Insert link to the conference.