Group gives Black people a safe space to talk race

CHARLOTTE — Mental health experts are creating more safe spaces for Black people to talk about racial trauma and how to heal.

Parent Lakeisha Johnson has spent time discussing race.

“The things that have been happening -- it almost feels like this wound that just can’t heal,” Johnson said.

She said she gets emotional when she sees racial injustice in the country.

[Experts share advice on having conversations about racial equality]

Community activist Leondra Garrett said it is time to heal.

“Remembering growing up as a little girl, four years old, still getting on the city bus with my grandmother, and she was programmed to always sit at the back of the bus. I’m going downtown and not being able to eat at Green’s lunch counter,” she said.

She’s part of a team that’s leading a book study through the Educational Equity Institute to create a safe space just for Black people.

Johnson is part of the group and said she feels much less pressure in an all-Black space.

“There’s a lot of head nodding because we know that we all have experienced some of the same things and similar experiences,” Johnson said. “And this common agreement without having to explain and teach the other person.”

The group has been having Zoom meetings for five weeks with therapists and other community members.

They have discussed the book “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome” and topics, such as racial socialization and how Black people may unknowingly perpetuate racist beliefs-

“These are things -- I tell people -- we don’t even think about. We just take for granted that these things have been in our family for so long.”

“I think, you know, just that little bit of sharing and holding space for each other. You know, it can get you through the day,” Johnson said.