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This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on community trauma. Vianca Masucci, health advocate at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, spoke on this topic.

EB: I’m so pleased that we’re finally addressing the issue of community trauma, Vianca. I hear about a new tragedy almost every day. As these misfortunes stack up, the Black community becomes more and more charged. Some of these emotions are fueling a movement for change. But some of these emotions are also quite damaging. Folks are traumatized by the racial violence that they encounter and read about every day. This repeating cycle is the root of so much hopelessness in the community.

VM: It’s a tragic time, Ms. Bush. When the Black community has to bear witness to and experience the same type of racialized violence day in and day out, people do begin to feel hopeless. But even beyond that, they begin to define themselves as a target, as a victim. When victimhood becomes part of your identity, part of the community’s identity, it generates trauma that negatively affects the way you experience the world.

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