Community Care in a Racism Pandemic

September 21, 2020

Xiang Zhou

We are living in a “racism pandemic” layered on top of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With a longstanding history of racism and White supremacy, the U.S. has witnessed the most recent and urgent cases of anti-Black racism in the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others. COVID-19 has also disproportionately claimed lives from African American, Hispanic American, Filipino American, and other racial minority communities.

For Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students to cope with ongoing racial trauma, it is especially important to stay socially connected even as we practice physical distancing. African, Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx communities each have powerful healing traditions rooted in interconnectedness and collectivism. And - no one can solve systematic racism alone. It is through reliance on collective coping and community care can we regain power and energy to make changes.  

I invite you to develop your supportive community, whether that is in person or virtually, to engage in racially conscious conversation. Research has shown the benefits of connecting with others to discuss experiences of everyday racism. If you are a new student, you can begin by browsing student organizations and clubs and join an affinity group. Look beyond Purdue if you cannot find one. If you are a returning student, reach out to new students, or start your own community to cultivate that sense of belonging.

To be seen and heard is the pathway to healing.

Dr. Xiang Zhou

Dr. Xiang Zhou is an assistant professor of counseling psychology in the College of Education. He is interested in understanding protective and risk factors among racial minority youth and families. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week!

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