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I. Can’t. Breathe.

Published by Tiffany Jenkins on

I. Can’t. Breathe.

Praying for peace, strength, and change.

I have been wrestling with a sea of thoughts and emotions stirred up in large part by the recent displays of racial injustice and police brutality. I am human first and a therapist second so allow me this space to share first my human perspective. As a Black woman, wife to a Black man, and mother of 2 Black sons, my heart has been broken beyond words. Many of you have reached out to share support and love, and I thank you. I am equally angry, heartbroken, and frustrated by the recent losses of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubury, and George Floyd. Their names are added to a pages long directory of Black lives lost over countless generations of hatred and intolerance. For me and many who share my cultural background, ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is more than a mere hashtag, it is the quintessential phrase that wholly encapsulates what it means to be Black in America. When our loved ones leave the house, we hold our breath until they have safely returned. When we occupy (some) corporate spaces, we dare not exhale too forcefully lest we be labeled as aggressive or having an attitude. These three words are not just a dying man’s last request for dignity and decency to be shown to him, they are a mantra. And they have become a call to action. So, here’s my therapist side.

As a clinician, I have an ethical responsibility to ensure justice and autonomy of all of my clients and to do no harm. Because the lens with which I view the world allows me to see this charge differently, I am using my experiences to help others. I am currently working to create a series of continuing education courses for behavioral health professionals that address issues of cultural competence as well as some basic communication trainings that will help us all. We must have open and honest conversations about our differences so that we can truly appreciate the gift of diversity. Awakening Change Counseling Services LLC as an agency is committed to having such conversations on an individual and corporate level. Please know that these topics are fair game for sessions, networking meetings, workshops, and coaching sessions. Let’s work through it together and #AwakenYourChange.

Be kind to yourself and to your neighbor,

Tiffany