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Doctor, Minister Discuss Healing Following Trauma

For Immediate Release

April 4, 2019

OAKLAND, CA – Following a national discussion about gun violence in the wake of the killing of rapper and businessman Nipsey Hussle, medical doctor and wellness expert Dr. Bernadette Anderson and pastor Michael McBride, head of urban strategies for Faith in Action, today shared thoughts on the importance of healing:

Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor, The Way Christian Church, Director of Urban Strategies for Faith in Action and Campaign Director for LIVE FREE

“There are people who get up every day (Erica Ford, Life Camp in New York; The Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, LIVE FREE) working in some of the most depressed and distressed systems – Oakland, CA; Chicago; IL; New York, NY  – and seeing 20, 30 and 40 percent reductions in gun-related shootings and homicides. There are all kinds of people who are already doing this work. It is a myth that we cannot solve gun violence.

Our people are indeed traumatized. We must prioritize their healing and not more punishment or more violence by the hands of the system. It is almost as if the violence in urban communities (Black, Brown and poor communities) is an issue that elected officials – even on the Democratic side — are forcing our communities to have to solve on our own.

We stand in solidarity with our loved ones from March for Our Lives, youth organizers and our Parkland loved ones. They have been some of the best champions in helping to braid the issues of mass shootings and gun violence in urban communities. But we must challenge the larger gun violence prevention field, challenge our Senate and Congressional leaders to FUND, not research, the best proven strategies that have worked for decades. I’m referring to public health interventions, credible messenger interventions, targeted messaging to those who are at the highest risk of shooting or being shot, group violence reductions initiatives, etc. Our mayors should scale these up and they should be a part of the national ownership to ensure our communities are not overwhelmed by violence.”

More from Rev. McBride:

Dr. Bernadette Anderson, M.D., MPH, Founder of Life in Harmony LLC

“Too many times, when a person has been wounded, they are told to ‘get over it.’ However, a wounded person cannot merely wish away the pain associated with trauma. And, the passage of time does not guarantee health and wellness.

When people are not told to “get over it,” they are told to seek justice — to make the offender pay for the wrongs they have inflicted. But advising a wounded person to “get over it” or “seek justice” without helping them to seek healing is ineffective. If we get justice without healing, we continue to suffer because we have not closed the chapter on a difficult period of our lives.

The proper way to close a painful chapter is through spiritual and faith-based practices, professional counseling, mindfulness or other tools that allow those of us who have been victimized to move beyond pain.

While we should most certainly seek justice for wrong-doing, we must understand that justice and healing are not the same thing. Justice is external and depends on the actions of others. Healing occurs on the inside. Justice is receiving some type of acknowledge and atonement for pain, but healing is the process of recovering from trauma and loosening its grips. Healing is not living our lives pretending that we have not been wounded; it is being able to give voice to our pain and to live outside of it.”

More from Dr. Anderson:

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