By Damali Roberts, DEIB Director
Dear LifeLong Staff,
From time to time, I’ll be reaching out with my reflections about significant things happening in the world around us. I’m planning to focus on events that are connected to public health, health disparities, or social justice more broadly. I’m also planning to focus on events that impact our staff and patient populations. The war and violence taking place in the world right now have public health implications, and, undoubtedly, are having an impact on you. With all that in mind, I would like to share my first written reflection. I’m also planning a gathering to process what we’re feeling together and have included a list of resources at the end of this email.
Here’s my reflection on the war, conflicts, and violence taking place in the world…
There’s no way around it, we are witnessing an unprecedented rise in war, conflicts, and violence in our communities and in the global community. We are seeing war erupting in places like Israel and Palestine, Eastern Congo, and the Ukraine; we are seeing mass shootings in places like Maine, and community violence close to home in the Bay Area. In the last few months alone, thousands of people have been killed and thousands more have been left behind to grieve. Many of you have been watching the bloodshed through the headlines and social media, and some of you have been directly impacted. We also realize that many of you, and your families, are connected to communities being impacted by violence. Given all that’s happening, I want to say very clearly, ‘It’s OK not to be OK.’
As a community-based healthcare provider, we understand that witnessing and experiencing violence is traumatic. We know that war and violence have collateral consequences that aren’t always named and talked about. We understand trauma affects every area of your life, including work and the ways you show up in this space with your colleagues and patients. Even when this violence is far removed from your daily reality, it may still be present in multiple ways. Because we know that this violence takes a toll, the question I’ve started to ask here at LifeLong is, ‘how can we be gentle with ourselves?’
There’s no way to live in the world without feeling. Each time we read a headline, scroll through our newsfeed, or see an image of a child dying, we feel it deeply. If you have loved ones or communities in places experiencing war or violence, each time the phone rings or a WhatsApp message comes in (or doesn’t come in), you feel it personally. We understand the range of feelings and traumas being experienced AND we are here to support you through it.
At LifeLong, we are a diverse mix of people from across identities (I.e., race and ethnicities, socio-political beliefs, immigration statuses, sexual and gender identities, etc…) who are also connected by our shared humanity. It is from this place of our shared humanity that we offer these words of acknowledgement and resources for you to explore.
If you would like to learn more about the some of the wars and conflicts across the globe, about some of the ways some communities are supporting one another through it, or if you’d like to find ways to support yourself with the grief and feelings that are coming up, I’m including a list of resources: