Trauma Informed Task Force Statement on Charlottesville Violence

Dear Community,

Though over a week has passed since the violence in Charlottesville on August 12th, the trauma and pain are still fresh. This politically and racially motivated attack is, sadly, only the most recent act of domestic terrorism in a long history of hate violence perpetrated by sympathizers of extremist organizations that advocate for White supremacy.

The Trauma Informed Task Force strongly condemns the racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, and bigoted violence and acts of domestic terrorism committed by White supremacists, White nationalists, and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12, 2017. We strongly denounce all violence, prejudice, discrimination, hate speech, hate crimes, hate groups, and oppression in all forms.

We hold Heather Heyer in our thoughts and in our hearts, ans we stand in solidarity with her loved ones, the Charlottesville community, and all those who stood up against and survived this horrific violence and trauma. We stand with Charlottesville in opposition to the racist ideology and policies of White supremacy, which, as a system of power and privilege that perpetuates racial inequality, generates a high volume of recurring traumatic experiences and further traumatizes individuals and communities of color.

The TI Task Force supports Charlottesville and our nation in efforts to heal from this recent trauma. The sight of hundreds of people carrying burning torches and shouting racist and Nazi slogans has undoubtedly made us feel distressed, disturbed our sense of safety, and further compounded the underlying institutional, systemic, and intergenerational trauma that impacts our daily lives. How can we recover from this?

We must first understand and acknowledge that racism is embedded in our nation’s history. When speaking to and with people of color about the racism in Charlottesville and the open visibility of White supremacist groups, consider the impact of using phrases such as “I can’t believe what’s happening,” or “I thought these events were in the past.” People of color live and carry the burden of these experiences daily. The trauma impact of social oppression is ever present, although it may appear less visible or is less overt.

From these daily microaggressions to institutional inequality and injustice, and particularly during incidents like this, we must also recognize that people of color and other minorities are vulnerable to pervasive traumatic experiences, and we must attempt to address these experiences in order to promote healing. Trauma informed philosophy allows survivors of trauma to feel more deeply understood and supported, and allows space for people in communities to learn how to support and care for each other during times of trauma – strengthening both the resilience of the individual and the community.

In being trauma informed and conscious, healing agents of peace, resistance, anti-racism, and social justice, we must also provide resources that build resilience and foster wellness and self-care. This will be imperative in healing from trauma, and for building a future that is geared toward justice and the peaceful communities that we all deserve to live in. We hope that the resources listed below will serve as just a starting point for those looking for support, tools, or ways to take action. And we hope that you will all stand with us against racism and hate.

In Solidarity,

Th Trauma Informed Task Force of Greater Los Angeles

Resources