The Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Day 6

day 6: trauma to healing

As we move into the second week of the Challenge, we hope you have taken the opportunity to look inside yourself and expand your mind through the different activities offered. Now we will look to shift the focus from personal reflection to a broader view of racial equity and social justice.

We hear a lot about trauma related to combat veterans, those who’ve been in significant accidents, and those who’ve been the victim of violence. Racism is also trauma, and many Americans are subject to racism in both overt and covert ways every day, including the youngest among us. Racism is painful, violent, harmful, and deeply felt by those on the receiving end. The lasting effects and trauma of experiencing racism can show up in emotions, behaviors, and in many other ways. 

Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy suggests that rather than asking, “What is wrong”, a trauma-informed approach would be to question, “What happened to you?” Numerous studies show that racism and discrimination are forms of trauma, and the lasting psychological effects can be similar to those of veterans who have experienced combat. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is becoming more commonly diagnosed in marginalized communities as racism and discrimination continue to create psychological, emotional, and physical harm. It is important to understand this trauma to be able to move forward.


81% of Black people reported experiencing discrimination. 1 in 10 developed symptoms of PTSD due to racism and discrimination.  American Psychological Association

4 in 10 Latinos say they have experienced discrimination in the past year, such as being criticized for speaking Spanish or being told to go back to their home country. - Pew Research Center

Nearly half of Americans say Black people face 'a lot' of discrimination in society today


  1. Read "Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma" (7 minutes)
  2. Read "The Link Between Racism and PTSD" (5 minutes)
  3. Read this list of 8 ways to practice self-care to support you and your loved ones when you are personally affected by racism. (4 minutes)


DAY 7: White Fragility


Back to Day 5

Back to Pre-Challenge