Loss and Grief in the Black Community

As we celebrate and honor Black History Month, we are sharing a variety of resources with the goal of educating our community on the differences of grief and enhancing our efforts to better serve our communities. The following literature provides important perspectives and unique cultural considerations about grief in the Black community.

The Relentlessness of Black Grief – The Atlantic

“We are in the middle of a Black bereavement crisis, and we do not have the privilege or time to grieve.”

The Familial Language of Black Grief – The Atlantic

“Black people feel the pain and loss of black life as if it were our very own blood that had been brutalized — because it easily could have been.”

VIDEO: Portraits of Courage event, Jana DeCristofaro of The Dougy Center and Dr. Tashel Bordere, Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri

“Dr. Bordere’s research focuses on Black youth affected by grief, gun violence, and race-based trauma. Normal grief responses of Black youth and youth with marginalized identities are not met with support and understanding, but with negative labels and punishment.”

How People of Color Can Experience Grief Differently Than White People – HuffPost Life

“Marginalized communities are affected by loss in unique and painful ways. Here’s how, plus some resources for coping.”

Grief and The Black Mother – Psych Central

“As Black women, the fear of losing someone we love to violence is haunting. Many of us have had to talk with the Black children in our lives about interacting with the police.”

A hidden pandemic: Grief in the African American community – ABC News

“Black Americans are 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19.”

When Grief and Crises Intersect: Perspectives of a Black Physician in the Time of Two Pandemics –  Journal of Hospital Medicine

“The intersection of the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, complete with its social isolation and inordinate impact on minorities, and the acuity of the grief felt by the most recent events of abject racism have coalesced to form what feels like a pivotal point in the arc of justice.”

How Do We Address Black Grief, Compounded by Centuries of Racism, Loss and Trauma? – Baby 1st Network

“Disproportionate death in the Black community — whether from COVID-19, infant mortality, or police violence — is one of the most alarming consequences of institutional racism. The tragedy is not only the loss of lives, says public health expert Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA. The tragedy is also in the grief and trauma these deaths bring to family, friends, and community. In other words, African Americans not only disproportionately face death; they also must deal with an insurmountable amount of grief and mourning.”

PODCAST: Grief Out Loud: Grieving While Black with Breeshia Wade

“Breeshia Wade’s new book, Grieving While Black: An Anti-Racist Take on Oppression and Sorrow, puts grief into a wider context. The context of our relationships and the larger systems that shape who has access to resources like time, power, and the space to grieve. Breeshia is an author, end-of-life caregiver, and grief coach.”

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