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Black Cross Note ~ ACE+

Black Cross Note ~ ACE+

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Presentation given for the Fatherhood Institute and the Philadelphia Alliance of Black Social Workers sharing My Story of Early and On-going Adversity and teaching about the Traumatic impact of Slavery
Presentation given for the Fatherhood Institute and the Philadelphia Alliance of Black Social Workers sharing My Story of Early and On-going Adversity and teaching about the Traumatic impact of Slavery

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Published by: RACISM NON~ANONYMOUS on May 15, 2012
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05/16/2012

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“Black Cross”
 
Notes from Da Recovery Room of 
On April 28
th
, 2012, The Fatherhood Institute together with the Philadelphia Alliance of BlackSocial Workers paved the way for me to present myself and the works the Creator pre-programmedmy Spirit to accomplish during this journey on Earth. My Spirit was truly strengthened with theinteractions, exchanges and expressions of all things Spiritual. Together Dr. Tawana-Ford Sabbath andI shared information pertinent towards furthering the goal of Healing for the Afreekan Descendant asindividuals, families and the broader group.My presentation focused on making the connections to my personal story and experiences to
highlight the potential and likely impact of “adverse childhood experiences” (ACE) or “traumaticstress”, extending
beyond the familial level of Lived Experience. Communal and Societal leveladversities were shared and time did not permit connecting the dots to the major findings during thenineties and some of my current experiences. It is these more recent experiences that led to thelabeling of me
as “The Traumatized Traumatologist”.
The Ninety’s ~ Professional Developm
ent 
a.
 
On an Individual level, I was focused on furthering my education, professionaldevelopment and work in the black community. I worked to uphold the values of black family and did not look to moving in the burbs. I was regaining myself anyway,and finding my way as a middle class professional, working to give back what I got. Ientered my second marriage as opposed to remaining focused on myself as an
“independent professional” woman and I re
-entered school on the PhD level at the
end of the 90’s.
 b.
 
Family level interactions were based in family get-togethers during the traditionsinstilled as our culture; the european hellidays as I recognize them to be now. Wewere close yet still emotionally disconnected and now I was an outsider of sorts basedon my professional positions and education. I had learned about child development,child welfare, impacts of environment and how to engage children and families withevaluating their lifestyle and outcomes. I had no children of my own and, childrenwere and are naturally drawn to me, listen and benefit from my involvement withthem. I was and have always been
a “trailblazer” of the family and continued to
function in that role during this period. I was no longer using or abusing substances,was active in a program of recovery and active in regaining and restoring Afreekan
 
consciousness. Towards that end, I gave to family members all that I received,practiced principles and worked to share Afreekan culture with the children, mynieces and nephews.c.
 
Communally I was connected professionally. I became active in the church for a shorttime yet was moving more into my true Spiritual Center due to my CulturalConnections. Those connections were made with the Black Social Workers, itsmission, purpose and provision of knowledge of self.
My “
Professional Parents
wereblack scholars and I worked in the community, literally as home based services werethe order of the treatment day thanks to managed care.d.
 
Societally the impact of crack cocaine was wreaking havoc across the nation and incommunities where Afreekans lived. With increasing crime and violence associatedwith crack/coc
aine addiction during the 90’s, our families were being torn apart.
HIV-AIDS and
“crack babies”
were a couple of the prime focal areas for research, fundingvarious medical models for treatment of mental and behavioral health challenges.During the early to mid-nineties and by the end of this same period, the introductionof prescription medications and medication for new childhood mental/emotionalhealth illness began along with massive influx of our people to the social servicearena.
What I Learned…Connections to
SPIRITUALITY 
The “treatment process” I went through in the early 80’s when they were developing modelsto “help” deal with trauma based illness supported me with “telling my story”. Providing the space to
FEEL and to actively express those FEELINGS is what will help and what did help me. Yet, the process Iwent through was a trailblazing type journey. To be black and from the hood, we understood that
“therapy” was for white people or ‘weak’ people. It is not someth
ing we did nor do we believe weneed it. If we suspect it could be helpful, the shame and associated stigma stops us. Who amongst us
wants to say to another person, that we need help indicating we “can’t” do it ourselves? It matters
not that we were tau
ght that it was “ok” to ask for help, when it comes to our thinking, feeling or
behaviors, those things we are supposed to always be in total control and responsible for. Anotherthing I am aware of is the fact that while whites have implemented and run programs, based onknowledge and research, in a racist system such that we exist, they did with it what they have done
with everything else they have ‘shared’ with us…incorrect application, LIES they tell us…for example,
when we go to treatment for addictio
ns, the message is that one uses cause they “want to”. Whatthey don’t say is WHY you “want to”. What thoughts or feelings are you working to avoid.
In the eighties mental health work and research uncovered the answer to those questions andthey devised program models that would help and I benefitted from those programs. They no longerexist as budgets have been cut and there seems to be a general decay of compassion, care and or
 
concern for our fellow men. We remain quiet by-standers leaving victims to fend for themselves then
tell them it’s “their fault” 100% for ‘failure’ to succeed.I don’t’ “blame” my family or parents for I KNOW they were doing what ‘we’ collectively havebeen programmed to do. We were ‘programmed’ cause that is what their (m
y parents/family) eldersbefore them, and those before them and those before them right back to those who survived theTrans-
Atlantic slave trade and encountered what I call our “socio/emotional parents”…the white man.
All of those early childhood adversities I experienced is what they perpetrated against us with therape, forced and frequent moves, communal and family separations, cut-offs, physical and emotionalabuse and neglect, forced labor, Spiritual and Cultural degradation as they told us LIES about who wewere and who they were.This is probably a good place for me to explain more about the ACE study done in the mid-nineties and explains the clear and direct connections between our experiences in amerikkka and ourcurrent mental, physical and behavioral health challenges.
THE ACE STUDY 
The
ACE
” Study was
an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control &Prevention along with Kaiser Permanente (an insurance agency) conducted in 1995-1997. The studywas led by Co-principal Investigators Robert F. Anda, MD of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s, MS, Vincent J. Felitti, MD. It is perhaps the largest scientific
research study of its kind, and analyzed the relationship between multiple categories of childhoodtrauma and health and behavioral outcomes later in life. Over 17,000 Health MaintenanceOrganization (HMO) members who received comprehensive physical examinations agreed to share
information about their childhood experiences of “abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction”. Sixty
-twopercent (62%) were aged fifty or older, seventy-seven percent (77%) white and seventy-two percent(72%) college educated.
An “ACE”
or Adverse Childhood Experiences, is labeled as such because of the lasting and
enduring
impact such experiences have on the developing psychic and psychological developmentof the individual. They represent traumatic events, or series of events beginning in childhood. Inaddition, ACE speaks to the development of identity and influences how an individual experiences the
“self” as worthy and worthwhile. In this context, “adverse” is differentiated from “favorable”
experiences, which have been demonstrated to support mental and emotional wellness.The adverse experiences identified included:Growing up experiencing any of the following conditions in the household prior to age 18:1.
 
Recurrent physical abuse2.
 
Recurrent emotional abuse3.
 
Contact sexual abuse

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