This is the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death, and soon it will be George Floyd’s one-year anniversary.  The traumas American Blacks experienced from the 2020 events continue to ripple through Black houses this year. Young Black girls and women see Taylor in the mirror every day, and the Black men, including myself, see Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Alvin Cole, Dijon Kizzee, Daniel Prude and others in the mirror. Each time the news mentions more Black death, it places an extra layer of trauma.

Abdi Nor Iftin is a Somali-American writer, radio journalist and public speaker. He lives in Yarmouth.

It is easy to forget about the deaths of these Black men and women unless you have dark skin yourself. I go for a daily run as part of combating the traumas from the war in Somalia, but since last year the running activity itself became a daily reminder of the death of Arbery, who was killed while jogging. That made me rethink my daily run. I bring my driver’s license with me as I go out for a 5-mile run every day. How many white runners do this? I carry my ID the same way I carried my refugee ID in Kenya to get myself out of trouble.

You can do your part to help reduce trauma. If you drive a pick-up truck just slow down and move over for the Black man or woman jogging. It may help reassure nothing bad will happen. This is something I worry about almost every day. I share the road I run with all vehicles, there is no sidewalk. When you drive fast, it petrifies us. Think about the death and grief that overwhelmed the Black communities across the nation. At least that is an easy way to show respect.

Taylor was killed this month last year, but she has lived in our hearts every day since her death. As we seek justice in every avenue, let’s also remember we still deserve the joy of everyday life. For Mainers, here is my advice: come together as a community and allow the people living with the trauma of Black death to heal by means of support and respect. I personally feel safe when I see folks I know on the road waving from their cars as I jog or run. It feels like belonging, and that is what matters in today’s America.

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