Our Lives Matter

Yesterday, not more than four blocks from where I was buying my lunch in our little capital of Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), three prisoners shot their way out of prison. When their getaway car crashed, they ran inside and hid in our major hospital then escaped and have since not been picked up.

The gunfight resulted in the death of a young police officer and two prisoners and was connected to the drug trade, which is controlled by forces outside of this little banana republic and has led to five hundred Black men, in our 1.2 million population, dying by the bullet.

I can notice how much I feel “it has nothing to do with me,” even though one of the members of my teachers’ class will not be attending this afternoon because she is afraid to step into the road. (She works at the hospital and was on shift yesterday.)

I can notice the way this shows up the internalized hate and hurt that was acted out on us throughout the most traumatic episode in our history, slavery. I can notice the increasing harshness of racism and other oppressions and that we suffer the consequences of these oppressions as Black women, Black men, Black Baptists, Black young people, Black elders, Black leaders—that we wear the hurt in our minds and on our bodies. I can notice how the oppression also drives our global-majority brothers and sisters of East Indian, Syrian and Lebanese, and Chinese descent to the safety of being apart from us.

I can also notice that Co-Counseling continues to be key in my remembering my connections, the joy of sharing and teaching music and being active in cultural spaces and events, and the general hopefulness that is life.

I am noticing that the less I say in my sessions, the more I can get to that deep-seated hurt that I can’t describe because it’s been there for so long. I am so glad we were able to think as a community at BLCD1 about physical counseling2 and figure out how to use it together as part of our counseling artillery. Barbara3 reminded us that we get to use the complete artillery of counseling skills to discharge, so that the hurts from our continuing mistreatment just fall off.

We get to be clear that our lives matter, we get to remember that our connections are there, we get to be fit and healthy and loved.

Chantal Esdelle

Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of African-heritage people

1 The International Black Liberation and Community Development Workshop, in Massachusetts, USA in July of this year.
2 "Physical counseling" is counseling in which a counselor, who has been trained to do it, provides aware, thoughtful physical resistance for a client to push and fight against.
3 Barbara Love the International Liberation Reference Person for African-Heritage People and the leader of the Black Liberation and Community Development Workshop,


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00