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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Joy is imperative to the Black community in 2020

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The Black community is tired. 

This year has brought grief after grief and fight after fight. It is important not to let ourselves get swallowed up by the negativity. We have to find joy.

We have felt the pain of loss throughout this year, from the sudden death of Kobe Bryant in January to the recent shocking passing of Chadwick Boseman in August. Black people have continuously been murdered by police. Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Dreasjon “Sean” Reed are just a few examples.

Since George Floyd’s death in May, people all over the world have been embroiled in the fight for Black lives. Public protests have continued nearly every day since then.

As much as public protesting is necessary, we get burnt out. One way to prevent burnout is to switch tactics.

Black joy is an act of resistance.

We cannot and will not be defined by systemic racism, by the struggles that we face or by the inequality we endure. It is critical to remember we are more than our difficulties. The Black experience is not solely pain and struggle.

Being Black is beautiful and amazing.

Our culture is so rich — from roller skating, to line dances at weddings and other parties, to Black music that has always been influential in the popular music scene. Every once in a while it’s good to take a step back and enjoy life. 

Enjoy being Black.

Without that kind of reflection and self-care, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Black people are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.

In addition, Black people often fall victim to racial misdiagnosis and are thus further unequipped to handle extra stress that comes with being Black in America. This year, there has been additional stress from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are many activities people do to manage stress and find joy in their daily lives. Some find it in building and growing relationships with others, in religion and spirituality or in meditation.

Meditation is a fairly simple way one can promote mental and emotional health in just a few minutes every day. It has been shown to reduce stress, regulate anxiety and mood disorders and improve self-image.

Regardless of how you do it, it is imperative we as Black people take time to find joy throughout our lives. 

There is enough pain in the world. We must be intentional about overcoming that pain through joy. 

For more information and support in finding that joy, look into these mental health resources.

We deserve to find our own little slice of happiness in the world.

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Uplifting Black stories, perspectives and art from IU and Bloomington. Reach out at blackvoices@idsnews.com.

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