Why I have a Black Lives Matters sign in my office window
Before coming to the USA in 2002, I had no idea what race meant in this country. Yes, I knew about slavery, I studied about it in history class, but it was only upon arriving here that I really started to learn about it's implications. I am still learning. This is what an immigrant takes upon herself: the duty to learn about the place she arrives at. I'm learning from clients, colleagues, books, exhibits movies... The ongoing trauma the Black community has and is facing in this country is being processed through art, as traumas are and my role at this point is to take part as an attentive audience, an ally and a friend. In the words of Hannah Arendt: "without false guilt complexes on the one side and false complexes of superiority or inferiority on the other, a bit of humanness in a world become inhuman."
I saw a boy and a dad riding bikes. The boy tripped and fell. Dad circled around but stayed on his bike. When the boy got up he started pedaling again, slowly. It was clear that the boy was expected to get it together quickly and follow, which he did. It seems like a common scene but I was wondering: what if dad had stopped, put his arm around his boy and asked if he was okay? perhaps the boy would have cried. Perhaps he would have had the opportunity to feel the fear, the shame or whatever feelings were going through him at that moment, before having to get up and follow down the trail. I think girls get more opportunities to do that and many boys are left knowing little bout their feelings. they seem to have less chances to articulate them, to ask for and receive support.
I found two things to be terrifying when I came to live in the US: one was the fact that people call the police on their neighbors, even if they had never talked to them before. The other was the health insurance system, which isn't a system at all- it's a bunch of corporations, employers and legislators keeping citizens enslaved in fear of illness. Healthcare is a human right. In the US people are scared to loose jobs because their health depends on their employers, so they don't strike, they don't demand workers rights. In the US people need to sue their fellow citizens to pay for medical bills caused by accidents which profits lawyers but is taxing and heartbreaking for everyone else. In the US people are forced to get a job "with benefit" when they are young with no dependents instead of having time to travel, to try out odd jobs or study different things. Medicare for all is a priority for the mental health of everyone here!
I do work with insurance companies which currently are the best way for people to access affordable psychotherapy.
Mental Health and Gun Violence
When a student decides to get a hold of a gun and shoot people at his school it is, of course, a mental health issue. Very bad judgement and impulse control on the student's part, loss, trauma and grief to be dealt with for his community. However, it is also a political issue. The military and weapon industry in the US are a huge employer, exporter and lobbyist. They have a lot of power and it's rarely used to do good. We need to think about why we are letting this industry have so much power because it has a devastating impact on people all over the world. As for gun ownership: in my opinion it is on the same spectrum as owning pain killer medication, sugar or a car: if you are well trained and know how to use it responsibly, if you are a reasonable person who cares about the wellbeing of her community you will probably be careful with a gun as you are with a car, a plane or a lawn mower. If you had good public transportation, great gardening services and a community you trusted, you probably won't want to buy a gun (or a car or a lawn mower) in the first place. Gun control laws