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Part 2: Celebrating Black Lives and Cultivating Restoration:




By Aneesha Perkins, MA, LPC


It is hard to believe that the 3rd anniversary of George Floyd’s death was just a few days ago. Unfortunately, our community continues to deal with community violence on large and small scales. We honor Mr. Floyd’s life and reflect on how his passing has magnified the racial injustices that still exist and we continue to advocate for justice and equity. Also, finding ways to thrive is how we can honor the legacies of those who have gone before us. As we work to restore from the racial stress that surrounds us, being present, a key concept of mindfulness, is an affirming way of pouring back into you. Being present involves tapping into your five senses as a way to slow down your mind and regulate your emotions. It gives you space to find compassion, gratitude, and kindness even in the midst of horrible circumstances. Below, we share 5 ways that you can be present in your community while showing solidarity with the Black community:


1. Taste – Something amazing happens when we consume food that sparks our taste buds; now add tasting something scrumptious with your tribe! Find a Black-owned business to patronize or gather your people for a potluck at someone’s house and describe the flavors that you each taste. Extra bonus points if you can describe the origin of various dishes. Check out this directory of Black-owned restaurants in every country for ideas: https://eatblackowned.com/

2. Sound – Let someone who matters to you hear your voice. The many benefits of technology allow us to keep in contact with each other via social media. However, there’s something personal about picking up your phone to say hello or sending a thoughtful voice text message. Whether it’s a 5, 10, or 30-minute call, use your voice to connect with someone whom you haven’t caught up with and say “hello,” Listen to the sound of their laughter and notice how it makes you laugh too.

3. Sight – Stimulate your sight. Whether it’s a solo trip or a friends/family outing, visit a local art gallery or museum that features the brilliance of Black art. As you indulge in Black creativity and uniqueness, share your initial feelings and emotions that arise as you see each piece. Visit here for some ideas: https://www.reflektiondesign.com/blogs/rd-blog/10-black-owned-art-galleries-across-the-us

4. Touch – Our sense of touch can be medicinal. With consent, whether holding hands or sharing a warm hug – connect with your friend, partner, or family member through physical contact. If you’re uncomfortable with physical touch, find something in your home (e.g., blanket, rice, or beans) or outdoors (e.g., a leaf, rock, or flower), take a few minutes to touch it, and describe its texture out loud. Try walking on grass barefoot, it can be a very pleasurable feeling. Engaging your sense of touch allows you to pause and truly take in your surroundings.

5. Smell – You’ve heard of stopping to smell the roses, right? There is power in stopping to tap into your sense of smell. Typically, mental health challenges like depression keep you stuck in feelings of the past, while anxiety keeps you worrying about the future. Both prevent you from being in the moment. However, grabbing and smelling your favorite candle, perfume, lotion, or oil that reminds you of someone you care about can be invaluable to your mental health. For instance, if your late grandmother cooked apple pies that you loved, buy a candle that reminds you of her apple pies and smell them whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.


There is much grief and trauma that we as a community are still challenged to navigate through every day. Black bodies and souls are to be cherished, and while our community continues to fight against various systems, we must develop ways to be present and care for our mental health. Because little black children deserve to live a life of true freedom and grow into seasoned and gray-haired adults.


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