CDC declared ‘Racism is a serious public health threat’ and Why It Matters

On April 8th, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), declared “Racism a serious health threat.” Racism impacts people of color in all aspects of life that include where they work, play, worship, live etc. There has been growing awareness and concern around the causes of racism over the years, but naming the root cause makes the issue visible to the larger community so that it is not experienced in silence by the populations affected by it.

In 2018, I sat in my first trauma training. It was then that I first learned that racism was considered a form of trauma. I was both surprised and shocked to learn this information. I have since been to a few other trauma trainings, which never touched on racism as a cause of trauma.

There are two types of trauma, little “t” trauma, which are non-life threatening events that includes a car accident, death of a pet, loss of a job etc. There is also big “T” trauma, which are life-threatening events, which include serious injury, war, ongoing abuse etc. Another form of trauma is second-hand trauma, which occurs when we witness someone in a traumatic event like seeing someone being abused, beaten or killed etc.

Hypervigilance, for some, is a by-product of trauma. To be hypervigilant, means your body is in a fight or flight state, which means that it is pumping cortisol to prepare you to fight or flee to protect yourself from a perceived threat. The body needs balance between being alert and being relaxed, but hypervigilance does not allow this balance to occur. Being in a constant fight or flight state can lead to a hormone imbalance, which can have long-term health consequences. It’s for these reasons, that the naming of racism as a health threat to people of color is significant. 

Heartspace circle was created to be a place of healing and restoration through community and connection. There are many studies that show the benefits of community to reduce stress, cope with the challenges of life and heal in ways that your own private healing journey cannot always do. Our events are focused on centering people to reduce the effects of the day, including stress. We empower participants to honor themselves and their body in ways that can be very soothing, healing and different from the outside world. We even have a service that can help manage physical or emotional pain, reduce stress and assist in the bodies’ ability to seek balance.

Heartspace is a space to rest back in the heart so that you can restore yourself to connect with others in ways that you long to connect. We hope to see you at a future event.

Published by Stephanie M. Flores

Stephanie M. Flores has practiced mindfulness, meditation and yoga since 2013. That same year, she found her voice, which led her to launch her blog, Illuminated Voice. She is a group facilitator, yoga teacher, coach and founder of HeartSpace Circle. Her hobbies include taking art classes, listening to music and spending quality time with friends and family. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Human Communication from Arizona State University and has studied improv, acting, filmmaking and anything related to her passion, human connection. As a blogger Stephanie writes about the importance of vulnerability, listening to your inner voice, honoring yourself and speaking your truth.

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