Being a mental health provider is incredibly rewarding, but it isn’t easy — particularly during a global pandemic and a national anti-racist uprising. As mental health professionals, while we remain committed to supporting our clients in coping with their trauma, grief, and anxiety during this moment, we must also remain committed to ensuring our own wellness. It’s like being on an airplane: in order to fully support our clients, we must secure our own oxygen mask first.

I’ve spent the past month meeting with clients who are experiencing intense grief over the loss of loved ones due to the pandemic…

As I do each year in May, I’m reflecting on what motherhood means to me. This May, as many of us celebrate Mother’s Day from a social distance, through cards sent by mail, drive by wishes of love, or telephone calls, I’m forced to remember that motherhood isn’t defined by any one memory or instance. Instead, it’s the compilation of those experiences, and the story they form in hindsight.

The story of my upbringing is complicated. My relationship with my mother is historically tumultuous, riddled with pain and abandonment. …

How do you ‘Celebrate’ Cinco de Mayo

Each year, across the country, people take the opportunity to misappropriate the meaning of Cinco de Mayo. This year, we’re calling on you to break the mold and commit to understanding the roots and purpose of the holiday.

For starters, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day and it is not a national holiday in Mexico.

On May 5, 1862 the Mexican army was victorious over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. It was a pivotal moment in Mexican history, as Mexico was outnumbered by the French and still achieved…

CLARITY IN CHAOS

In some ways, living in a pandemic has provided me the time and space to regroup, refocus, and replenish. Late last week, I was on an international ZOOM call about a new project I’m working on and I was asked to create my dream for this project “in great detail”; I was told to “picture it as if it were a reality, put time and effort into it creating every aspect of how it looks and functions, because only then, can you really get what you want.” If you don’t know exactly how you want it to…

A number of my recent blogs have covered how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting POC- from access to health care, to targeted racism, to economic stressors unique to communities of color. Today, I want to talk about our most precious asset- our children. There’s information all over the internet providing parenting tips about homeschooling, supporting children emotionally, and managing different types of stressors in families. …

Spike Lee used these words to begin and end his infamous films School Daze and Do the Right Thing. Demanding Black people to wake up to the reality of racism, and most importantly, wake up to the call to take action. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with my dear friend and colleague Dr. Ram Bhagat is a longtime educator, arts innovator, and peacebuilder who has been teaching and transforming communities for 35 years. Ram and I explored what it means for Black people to wake up, in a spiritual sense, and to use this time, during a global…

Part Two — Healing

Towards the end of my book “Urban Trauma, A Legacy of Racism”, I tie together the pieces that make up the fabric of our oppression as POC’s and present the steps below as a guide to a journey of healing.

What needs to change? For those who have experienced Urban Trauma, it is possible to heal. Encourage those with whom you work, live, and interact with to start with the basics:

  • How to build trust again with each other, first and foremost (which includes looking at issues of power, lack of opportunity, and victimization)
  • How to…

Compared to white people in America:

  • More POC are contracting COVID-19
  • More POC with COVID-19 are being hospitalized
  • More POC with COVID-19 are dying

Why is this happening to black and brown people?

Let’s take a look at the message mainstream media is feeding to us:

  • POC are overweight
  • POC have diabetes and heart disease due to poor eating habits.
  • POC have unhealthy lifestyles.

Here’s what no one is talking about:

  • POC have had limited access to high quality health care for generations.
  • When accessing health care, the disparity in treatment is astounding- POC do not receive the same treatment…

Want My People to be Free

20 Years ago Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey) dropped “Umi Says” an incredible black power anthem about freedom for black people. Mos Def — Umi Says — YouTube

Mos used his lyrical talent to blend music and soul as he proclaimed his desire for all black people, his people, to be free. Black being synonymous to PanAfricanism, I think about what freedom meant to our ancestors, to Mos at the turn of the century, and what freedom means to us now.

As I go back in history, I reflect on what Toussaint L’ouverture was…

Mother Earth’s Reaction to COVID-19

Let’s pause for a moment to consider how the environment has responded to COVID. There is now a reduction in carbon footprint, everything has slowed down even the destruction of rainforests and other natural habitats. Massive pollution has halted. We are starting to see the smog lift from places like LA, Spring has been allowed to foster regrowth without contamination, and the price of oil has plummeted. In this moment, I think the earth is taking advantage of protecting itself and its natural resources; regenerating itself before humans start destroying it again. Historically, plague and disease have caused the slowing…

Dr. Maysa Akbar

Dr. Maysa Akbar, is a groundbreaking psychologist, best-selling author, and healer. She is a media expert addressing the role of Urban Trauma.

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