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Dark Matter and Dark Energy: A Metaphoric Look at the Impact of Colonialism (in the Village and On Ourselves)

Dark Matter and Dark Energy: A Metaphoric Look at the Impact of Colonialism  (in the Village and On Ourselves) by  Jacqueline Samuel

Author(s): Jacqueline Samuel

Abstract:

As a tool for critical, participatory and socially transformative praxis, storytelling offers those typically silenced an opportunity to share personal stories (Sonn, Stevens, & Duncan, 2013). This is the aim of author.  Whether in prose or narrative these stories from the village should be perceived as lessons, teachings, and/or scriptures. This is an acknowledgement of experiences had, to promote an awareness and awakening to the root causes of oppression. The narrative of the oppressed should be treated as delicately as one would treat any sacred journal about life because it chronicles the path of oppression and demonstrates how Dark Matter becomes a theoretical concept that fuels a Metaphysical Catastrophe.


Article:

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As a tool for critical, participatory and socially transformative praxis, storytelling offers those typically silenced an opportunity to share personal stories (Sonn, Stevens, & Duncan, 2013). This is the aim of author.  Whether in prose or narrative these stories from the village should be perceived as lessons, teachings, and/or scriptures. This is an acknowledgement of experiences had, to promote an awareness and awakening to the root causes of oppression. The narrative of the oppressed should be treated as delicately as one would treat any sacred journal about life because it chronicles the path of oppression and demonstrates how Dark Matter becomes a theoretical concept that fuels a Metaphysical Catastrophe.

 

 

What is this Dark Matter?

I look at Black people as being Dark Matter.

We are that mysterious substance in the universe holding it all together with our gravity-pull,

as you look at us through the telescope wondering who we are. Where did we come from?

And How do we continue to exist?

Are we a threat to you?

We can't be seen.

No one will listen.

We can bend light with our gasps, our wails, our gospel, our discourse, our rap, our rage, our outcry, our

spirituals, our weeps, our silent whispers, our Ebonics, our music, our complaints, our jokes, our dry

humor, our stories, our peaceful resistance, our satire, our blues, our narrative,

always pushed back,

ignored, blamed,

telling us we do not emit light.

and yet you pass through us like we are not there,

but you work us, drug us, redefine us,

tax us, imitate us, enslave us, cheat us, berate us,

watch us and secretly peep at us,

stereotype and profile us, arrest us, kill, kill, kill us,

suppress us.  (GASP)

I can't breathe….

Well, we exist.

We are Dark Matter.

 

To my Community Sons thinking that "Nobody's Praying" for You....

Dark Energy is an unknown form of energy, -this is you, my Son,

hypothesized to permeate all of space, my dreaded babies with your sagging pants,

rage and outrage,

shooting to the sky with your anger, swagger, your intellect, your presidency, your rhythmic soul, your

blue note, your mystery.

You tend to accelerate in your immediacy,

time to recognize the expansion of your being, presence, in the universe,

to finally be heard,

all indicating that you, my Black Energy, are expanding like the sound and splash of the water drum,

as you form your resilient voice at an accelerating rate,

please know that,

We are praying for you.

 

Decolonializing Space: My Re Awakening

These two poems came from a moment of Decolonializing space with my fellow authors. It was a rich and inspiring discourse that felt like an intellectual pilgrimage as we were discovering our truth.

 

One night I was flipping the channels on TV, and I landed on PBS, and they were talking about Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter is theorized as a material or substance that cannot be seen in of the universe, (www.science.nasa.gov).  It was fascinating to see how much effort these scientists were using as they tried to understand these properties but they just really do not know what Dark Matter or Dark Energy is and I felt that it summed up the perceptions and summations as to who we are as Black people.  I see Black people as being this Dark Matter because of our history of inventions and innovations that hold the world together such as building the White House, pyramids, the time clock, the traffic light, etc. I see our Black men as this mysterious Dark Energy, and even though Dark Energy is speeding up the expansion of the universe, I feel the same type of oppressed ENERGY being expelled to destroy them. All of these thoughts happened around the same time I was listening to Kendrick Lamar's new Pulitzer Prize-winning album called, "Damn" which captures the contemporary lifestyle of Black men today.  When he says, "Nobody Praying for Me," those words went through the very core of my being like that oppressive energy. I felt this fullness, unexplainable presence, inner pain but it was not tangible, almost like a phantom ache or pain, that sensation a person has when they have lost a limb, and it feels like it is still there, but it hurts. It filled my body. I was grief-stricken. Sad. I felt that I, WE, THEY, have let our children down. Our Village is no longer protecting our children. That sacred piece of our legacy. Why? If I can take accountability or acknowledge this wrong, why doesn't our oppressor? What is the value in destroying a child, a people, their dreams? It is mean, evil, greedy, disastrous, ugly, devilish, and immoral. It is every gunshot into the backs of Black men.  It is an assassination of the human spirit. It rapes us of our purpose. Our young people should never, never feel uncared for, unwanted or invisible. If I could, I would exchange those words, "Nobody Prayin' for Me," for any expletive or adolescent filled sexual innuendo that would be expected in a song or rap, sung through an exploration of "voice." This was different. It was not exploration but a declaration of one's truth. Anything other than those words. This broke my spirit. I bow my head with my hands over my ears, and I sit in silence. I realize that these feelings have been sitting dormant. This is what the impact of Colonialism feels like. The destruction of a sense of community as it transforms into a Metaphysical Catastrophe.  

 

In August 2019, America celebrates its 400th Anniversary of the first slaves brought to America. 

In the darkness of its belly, the boy---his name was Malawi---lay pressed against its wet, wooden hull, naked and chained to a corpse that only hours before had been his older brother, Oboto. Down there, the air was curdled, thick, with the stench of feces and decaying flesh. Already the ship’s rats were nibbling at Oboto’s cold stiff fingers. Malawi screamed them away whenever they came scurrying through a half a foot of salt water toward his brother’s body.  He held Oboto as the boat thrashed, throwing them from side to side, and the rusty chains hit deeper into his wrists.  But by now, after seven weeks at sea, the rats were used to screams, moaning, and cries in the lightless entrails of the ghost ship. (Charles Johnson, 1998)

In 1940, Richard Wright wrote the classic novel, Native Son, about the life of Bigger Thomas a young Black male living in poverty and suffering from oppression. The irony between these stories is how it opens up with Bigger in a slum apartment in the 1930’s on the south side of Chicago, fighting off a rat with his brother to the screams and cries of their mother and sister in despair.  Except Bigger was different than Malawi. Malawi was raised in a village that cared for him before he and his brother were stolen into to slavery. Bigger represents that mysterious Dark Energy of Black men today as he gets caught up in a horrific crime. This demonstrates the crucial moment where Dark Matter transforms into a Metaphysical Catastrophe.  Metaphysical Catastrophe is when a community in hardship becomes at war with itself. This war, self-hatred, inferiority, lack of belonging in the dominate culture, is viewed as normal to society. War zones are created where extreme violence and constant low level violence is directed to these communities in hardship. Whether war is within or against these communities everyone becomes desensitized (Maldonado-Torres, 2007). These two stories example the path of oppression and metaphorically demonstrates the wave of the universe and how these two stories continue to repeat itself and now at a faster pace like the expansion of Dark Matter in the Universe.

 

This wave in the universe evolves into expansionism. Every wave emits this Dark Energy filled with Dark Matter which in turns sustains oppression.  From ancient conquests, the debate of whether Christopher Columbus really discovered America, through the height of the slave trade, and the human trafficking of today, there is always that historical moment where the first wave of interaction is an exploration of a group that considers themselves as missionaries. This is what happens to Malawi. They start with a welcoming venture that betrays the indigenous by shackling them into oppression. Usually under the guise of Christianity, they bond with converts, find an ally in the elements, and craft a utopia (Charles Johnson et.al, 1998). However, these colonists are nothing short of being arrogant, greedy, thieves or as Del Jones best coined the phrase, “Culture Bandits”. Then this indigenous group is subjugated by these Culture Bandits and exploited in various degrees of severity. This is the global slave trade. There seems to be a lull or stagnation where the indigenous group learns to adapt to the situation.  Through this adaptation a subculture among the indigenous group evolves and thus begins the next stage of oppression called Cultural Appropriation.  The term “Cultural Appropriation” which is steeped in debates of its authenticity. It is difficult to simply define it without challenges from those that are ether not affected by it or by those guilty of the taking. Unfortunately, the meaning can get so caught-up into rhetoric that the arguments become a distraction.  Cultural Appropriation for this narrative is defined as a dominate group benefiting from appropriating or utilizing something that is culturally significant and originated by an indigenous group.  However, the indigenous group is either penalized, degraded, stereotyped or all of the above and their Dark Energy expands into this identity crisis. Maldonaldo-Torres calls them War Zones, where some in the indigenous group assimilates to the dominate culture while the others resorts to violence and self-destruction.  In other words, people in whom an inferiority complex has taken root, whose local cultural originality has been committed to the grave—position themselves in relation to the civilizing or dominate language: i.e., the metropolitan culture. The more the colonized or indigenous group has assimilated the cultural values of the metropolis, the more they will have escaped the bush. The more they reject their blackness and the bush, the whiter they will become (Fanon, 1967). This is Dark Matter. It is this stage of expansionism or where Bigger gets “caught-up” in their own oppression and the Metaphysical Catastrophe begins.

 

 My Universe: My Roots 

My father was born in Chicago in 1924, but he grew up in the south, Union Springs, Alabama. At this time 16 lynchings had been recorded and the Ku Klux Clan had a membership of 4.5 million (Cowan, et al. 1998). My father met my mom, in Alabama. My paternal grandmother had a store in Tuskegee, Alabama and he met my mom in Tuskegee when she was attending college.  My mother was born and raised in Notasulga, Alabama, Macon County where racism and oppression were at its best.

 

My father served in World War II. After serving in the war he went back to Alabama to get my mother and they married and moved to Chicago. His first job was working for Fuller Hair Care Products and later worked his way up to security at the United States Post Office.  He died from the usual maladies of oppression, complications of high blood pressure when I was 17 years old. To this day my sister and I could argue that we were daddy's little girl and we both would be right.  He always treated my mom, sister and I like queens. He worked hard and loved my mother dearly. It is funny how I know this since I never saw them ever display public affection, it was the 60's and 70's and they did grow up in the south. During that time Black Love seemed subtle. You cannot help but think that this subtleness came from slavery through an inherited strategy to protect the family unit from being separated or torn apart.  However, you would see and feel Black Love in the family through actions of care and family engagement. No matter the circumstances of what life would throw your way during that time you would feel safe, loved and strong, because you belong.

 

I recall one day when my mother had surgery, and the doctor came out to tell us she was ok.  We all had our backs to my father when the doctor turned to address him about instructions for my mother's home care.  We turned to face him, but my father had disappeared. When we called for him, he walked around the corner wiping his eyes with relief.  At a young age, I imagined he privately thanked God.

 

The other sign of love for my mom was him repeatedly playing Wilson Pickett's song, “I'm in Love”, over and over again until he would fall asleep in his favorite chair sipping his Jack Daniels.  I love and still miss him. I remember our last dinner together. He looked deep into my eyes with this all-knowing look of pride, sadness, with a smile and a silent goodbye not knowing that he had instilled enough love to protect his family for a lifetime.

 

As for my mother, I still stand in awe of her 94+ years of life and her ability to live through my extended adolescent years during her menopause.  There really should be a medal for any Black woman that can survive that. I contribute her survival from her life living in the south.  She grew up on the farm, attended a one classroom Rosenwald school and graduated from Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, with a degree in homemaking.  She ran track, played basketball, and picked cotton on the farm. Her historical stories range from, working for George Washington Carver in school, working in an ice cream parlor owned by Booker T. Washington, and seeing the nurse come to town to test the blood of Black men during the infamous Syphilis Experiments. She is a retired school teacher which explains why it was no doubt that my sister and I were expected to attend college.

 

I was raised with the same values taught to me by the Village like the slave children in Velma Kings book, Stolen Childhood, to be good, do my chores, be honest, turn the other cheek no matter how painful, and respect your elders. I am the civil rights legacy and potential that my parents, ancestors, activists, faith leaders, educators, and the rest of the village invested in. I lived through the lull and stagnation of oppression where the village found a way to adapt.  I learned how to navigate the racism without rage and quietly live among my own and strive for my goals. To survive, get an education, a good job, and acquire a lifestyle that is sustainable. This village, "sense of community" had its boundaries and it kept us safe. My father and mother's village kept them safe but today we are surrounded by these broken fences and destructive war zones in our lost community villages.  I feel like I am living Langston Hughes' poem "Dream Deferred" and nothing hurts more than when you see your people in such strife especially when you want to see them thrive.

 

My Universe: The Self Awakening

I was a born into the Civil Rights Movement. It positioned my generation to be the legacy and bearer of all treasures and gains accomplished during this time. In hindsight, it was a success. Between 1960-1972 the Civil Rights Movement had accomplished what it had set out to do: integration, equal rights and justice. In terms of integration we were able to use public schools, business, and services. As for equal rights we could work in places where we once could not enter. Justice was a historical achievement where we obtained the right to vote.  In 1960 28% of the Black population was eligible to vote and it grew to 66% by 1968(Grant, 1996). It was not perfect but it was definitely a monumental advancement for Black people because I was the first generation never to see a “White Only/Colored Only” segregation sign. This is called an “Oppression Lull”, were the oppressed adapt and thrive within a time span.

 

So I watched what was happening in my universe. I did not always understand, but I had my big sister, nine years my senior, to explain to me what was happening. I was a voyeur. She shared the difference between the Black Panthers and the Black Stone Rangers, her day in school when President Kennedy was assassinated, and the day at home when we heard the news report that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. She was my Village guide protecting my innocence. Someone I could trust. I am not sure I knew what I was feeling at the time other than feeling safe, but I knew that my color had something to do with what was going on in the world. It was a very paradoxical time in my life. The news was filled with the fatalities of war which did instill this hidden and unspoken fear. At some point, I remember thinking that war was just a common part of life. Then these hurtful acts of racism were another part of my life that I didn't worry about unless I ventured outside of my Black community boundary. I will never forget when my sister started driving, and we had a chance to explore the city a little bit more. This was when I learned that there were some communities that we should not visit.  One summer my sister drove through Marquette Park after visiting Ford City shopping mall. This is the park where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hit in the head with a brick during a peace march. However, I was not aware of this incident at the time. We knew to stay on the main streets to get to the other areas that were safe for us to be. We were sitting at a stoplight and there was a group of White male bikers sitting on their bikes. I remember feeling uncomfortable as I turned and briefly looked at them and quickly looked at the traffic light waiting for it to turn green. I never said anything. I was afraid to move and let the window up. I am not sure if my sister noticed, but it seemed like that light was red for hours. The hot summer sun felt like a spotlight emphasizing our presence. Without words, I knew by the look on their faces that we were not welcome and by the grace of God nothing happened. We got a pass. Racist things were always happening to my people, but it was rarely discussed with my peers or my family. I was living in an economically diverse community where we all looked out for each other, and the Village allowed us to be children. This was the purest form of McMillan and Chavis' (1986) Sense of Community. We had a shared emotional connection. So when I saw anything undeniably Black, it was cause for celebration. I was doing the "good foot" (dance) to James Brown, "Say it Loud, I'm Black, and I am Proud!" However, between the assassinations of our leaders and our Black men going to war, in my reflection, I believe it was the protection of the Village and the Black Arts Movement that was a part of shaping the pride in my community.  By now it is the heart of the 70’s and as a people we were beginning to come into our own.  By having the ability to vote we entered the 70’s with a 121% increase of Black Elected officials.  A far cry from the 62% in 1962 (Grant, 1996). By 1972 we had officially moved into the Black Liberation Movement. I grew up in the largest working/ middle-class neighborhood in the United States called Chatham, on the south side in Chicago, Illinois. Our neighbors were blue and white collar workers, artists, teachers, principals, stay at home moms, all respectfully living together. There were also people that lived in our community that was troubled, but they were accepted and respected. We had shared values, exchange of resources. It was nothing for a “stay at home mom” on the block to babysit the rest of the children until their parents got home from work. When I was growing up our artistry was something that white people were curious about but didn't understand. Our achievements were coming quick and we were as mysterious as Dark Matter. Our song, dance, style, and speech was different, and it could not be mastered or duplicated. If someone tried, we would laugh, laugh, laugh.  It felt like it was all we had. We simply called it "Soul." To me, it was more than Soul. It is what Jazz musicians call the "Blue Note." Our "Soul" was that essence of the blue note, those musical notes that are normally not played together but when played in this unexpected way it creates a vibe that will make you blurt out the words "coool."  However, the Dark Matter of it was that you did not see many Black people on television, but when you did, you would call the whole family to come and watch. "Mama! Mama! Tina Turner is on TV! On Saturday's we would clean the house to Nat King Cole or Johnny Mathis. Never a Saturday afternoon went by without watching the dance show "Soul Train." My best memory was the day my sister took me to my first Black Owned Bookstore, liberating.  I remember buying an anthology of Black Plays and thinking, "Wow we can say that?" This is where my love of theater came from. It gave me a voice, freedom. I was reading literature that told the story of my ancestors, and I remember being proud to be Black. It was more than pride, I was glad. It was my Decolonializing Self-Awakening, a moment where you understand who you are in this universe and you know you belong.

 

Our Villages Today Are Different

I can almost benchmark when I noticed the changes happening in our Villages. By the mid-70’s we were losing our political gain. The FBI was successful and destroying the momentum of the Black Panther’s as they were either fighting for their freedom in the courts of law or electing to leave the movement or to another country for their Nationalist reasons (Grant, 1996).  By the time the prolific Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton got out of jail we were in the 80’s and in the beginning of the crack epidemic, in which he succumbed. The best visual that captured change in our communities was one scene in the Mario Van Peeples' movie "New Jack City."  It was the scene where five young men were singing Doo Wop on their neighborhood block when it was flourishing and it slowly fades to 3 years later, with only three guys singing, slovenly clothed, trying to keep warm over a garbage can fire pit. My real life image was driving down approximately 60th and South King Drive and everyone came out on the streets, hanging out their windows and balconies, celebrating one of the Chicago Bulls Basketball Team Championships. We were all honking our horns, screaming and shouting, having a good time. It did not matter what neighborhood you were from in Chicago at that moment. Then ten years later that whole block of buildings was abandoned. Hip Hop and sagging pants were on its way and gangster rap and drive-by shootings became the norm, we were leaving our Dark Matter. The places, spaces, and mechanisms that allowed us to express and be ourselves as a people are either reduced or no longer exist. Our "Soul" has been corrupted, copied, defused, marginalized, captured and stolen. Or basically, we were being Culturally Appropriated to the point where Prince and Michael Jackson had to take a stance.  Our Dark Matter has been synthesized, criminalized, subjugated and uneducated.   This is how oppression sustains itself.  Dark Matter becomes a theoretical concept that benchmarks the peak of the existence of oppression where the oppressed becomes conveniently invisible to society, perceived as inferior and loses its protective factors, in this case the village, and the norms become distorted and destructive. We are all “Bigger” now. Thus opening the gateway to a Metaphysical Catastrophe.

 

The Cost to Colonialism

Along with policies and practices that create an economic disadvantage for communities of color, violence has played a significant role in our country's legacy of oppression. Our system of government is built on a foundation of depriving people of color of their rights and controlling people of color through violence. The regime of slavery was upheld through violence at the hands of slave owners and the law, laying the groundwork for a long history of discrimination, violence, and oppression at the hands of our government and society at large (Buitrgo et al. 2017). What we fail to realize is that there is a cost to colonialism. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health (2018), the average life expectancy in Chicago between Low Hardship Communities and High Hardship Communities is 8 years and the gap significantly widened by 3.4 years beginning in 2012. Violence is one of the largest contributors to this gap. The Chicago region's homicide rate would drop by 30 percent—the equivalent of saving 229 lives in Chicago in 2016—if we reduced the level of segregation between African Americans and Whites to the national median (Metropolitan Planning Commission, 2017).  If 167 more people had lived that year, they would have had earnings of some $170 million throughout their lifetimes (Shapiro, 2012). The Chicago region would have saved some $65 million in policing costs and an estimated $218 million in corrections costs. Residential real estate values would have increased by at least $6 billion (Metropolitan Planning Commission, 2017).

 

Accelerating Forward: Another Wave in the Universe

The damage has been done, and there is no turning back. How do we free ourselves to capture our own self-determination? 

 

First, we must understand the paradox of resilience. The APA (2014) defines resilience as "the process of adapting well in the face of diversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress. Although I find resilience to be an attribute of survival it also has a double edge to it. When you go through trauma, you usually go through a fight, flight, or freeze collectively but to be resilient; you tend to suppress the most harmful aspects of the situation individually.  That is the double edge of resilience. You find a way to push past the traumatic situation but what we need is healing. But these experiences are often kept secret, as are our courageous battles to overcome them (Jay, 2017).  Is this where we go wrong? We hold our secrets so close to our chest when we should be telling our children and share with our village about our struggles so they can learn from them. When we keep secrets and suppress our trauma we suffer alone. We “dis-ease”, high-blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.  We must understand that trauma and healing are collective experiences, therefore we must heal collectively.  In order to promote well-being, we must work collectively. Our Village needs to control the conditions of our life circumstances which is a function of social justice. In order to do this, we must have a sense of hope, ability to pursue dreams, and facilitate our well-being (Ginwright 2010).

 

I could never get my grandmother to share the stories of our family history. Thank goodness my mother did. A friend told me that their big family secret is that they killed their plantation master and buried him. This was a secret the family shared but they controlled their condition to gain their collective freedom. This story was not told in fear or fright I heard a story that demonstrated how this family healed collectively.  When we decolonize space, we heal through sharing our stories.

 

When I was young every summer, we would visit my grandparents on the farm in Alabama.  We would always drive south. I remember that certain situations would trigger anxiety in me during the trip, such as, driving in stormy weather because I was afraid we would have an accident; get lost on the road, harassed by strangers and never see home again. However deep the stress, the collective healing came from being with my family no matter what the trigger.

 

I didn't know much about racism at the time, but I recall my father being treated poorly by a White Waitress and my mother had to step in and smooth the situation over. These were not traumatic events, just stressful. My parents, my protectors, were being threatened, but when I reflect on these situations today, could these stressful moments still have an impact on me? To this day I prefer to drive because it makes me feel like I have control over where I am going. Whether the weather is good or bad, if I am lost or not, if I am driving I am not upset.  How about my father, being harassed by the White waitress? Were there incidents later in his life that triggered unconscious memories of that waitress? Could this have been yet another “universe” wave of oppression? Did this situation represent the rat that tormented Malawi and Bigger?  Was my father Malawi, representing the men of his generation? Could Bigger represent our young men today facing neighborhood violence and police brutality?  Like Malawi, my father was psychologically stolen from the safety of his village while trying to provide a simple meal for his family? Could this have been a stressor that was the catalyst of his high blood pressure? As a family, we never talked about the situation. However, I know he was not a fan of going to any restaurant or gas station on the road when driving in the south. My grandmother would make our lunches for our trip home, and we stopped at many bushes when we needed to go to the restroom. At the time I was too young to understand the dynamics of the south.  Of course, I learned more about racism as I got older but I can't help but wonder if I got sick on that trip because someone at that restaurant put something in my hamburger.

 

The Normalization and Ordinary Actions of Self-Defeating Behaviors: A Calling for Our Villages

As a Community Psychology practitioner working in many communities that are going through a Metaphysical Catastrophe, you will see villages with sounds of gunfire mixed with underfunded community efforts, giving children some poor semblance of a childhood. A space filled with a Dark Energy where corruption goes unnoticed between all of the abandoned houses and lifeless backyards. These war-torn playpens where this extraordinary behavior takes place and becomes normal and ordinary in colonial contexts and wherever there are colonial subjects (Maldonado-Torres, 2016). It is the result of these inequities in society driven by the impact of racism, poverty and oppression that sparked my servitude. One day I shared this story in front of academics that were interested in my work in the community.

My question: How do you heal a community? How do you heal a community from seeing Arnold Mireles gun downed because he stood up to the gangs? And what about the little girl in our community named Neenee that was ready to go back to school after Labor Day weekend but lost that chance to a bullet?  I was talking to a teenager that lives in the community, and he had expressed that he had been shot in the leg three times. I asked him about his well-being and what was going on in school. He said, "School? I don't go to school much, and when I do, I am wondering why am I still alive, and will I get home safe." So, last summer I surveyed 126 people in the community to better understand the impact of violence.  I learned that 51% had witnessed a shooting. All I could think about is, if you have to live with that kind of trauma then what must your life look like? Walking to the store for a bottle of milk looking over your shoulder to see if someone might harm you---can't go to the park- can't sit in a car. Then this past January this one girl in the community, Sakina, my only community girl that could handle the boys playing basketball, was ambushed by a spray of bullets.  See, you don't understand, she was my hope for the future, she was the glimpse of what my mother must have been like on the basketball court in her youth. Sakina was JUST TAKEN…. Never to see another day. (Samuel, 2016)

I thought it was important to share my sacred story to Decolonialize my space. There are Villages that are still out there but they are in a metaphysical catastrophe in which they think life is normal and ordinary. Their shear ability to adapt in this violent culture already makes them resilient because they are surviving the best way they can. Malawi was resilient, Bigger was resilient. But what we need is healing, a Collective Healing that will spare the lives of all of the Neenee’s and Sakina’s out there. We need an awakening that will spark the engagement of our Village to heal collectively by preparing our youth to walk in our shoes, be educated, vote, tell our stories often, lead with self-determination, be radical, stand for something, stand for the future of our children because they are our legacies and gateway to eternal life in our Universe of Dark Matter.

 

References

American Psychological Association (2014) www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov

 

Breggin, P. R. (2000). Reclaiming our children. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

 

Buitrago, K., Rynell, A., & Tuttle, S. (2017, March). Cycle of Risk: The Intersection of Poverty, Violence,   and Trauma in Illinois. Heartland Alliance. Available at www.heartlandalliance.org/povertyreport

 

Ginwright, S. (2016) Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Urban Activist and Teachers are     Reclaiming Matters of the Heart, Routledge

 

Dark Energy, Dark Matter, (2017) www.science.nasa.gov

 

Cohen S, Prachand N, Bocskay K, Sayer J, Schuh T. (2016) Healthy Chicago 2.0 Community Health Assessment: Informing Efforts to Achieve Health Equity. Chicago Department of Public Health

 

Jay, M. (2017) Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience, Hatchette Book Group

 

King, Wilma (1995) Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth Century America, Indiana University Press.

 

Maldonado-Torres, N. (2016). Outline of ten theses on coloniality and decoloniality. Foundation Frantz Fanon.

 

Metropolitan Planning Council, (March 2017). www.metroplanning.org/costofsegregation 

 

McMillan, D.W. and Chavis, D.M. (1986) Sense of Community A Definition and Theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 6-23.

 

Patterson, O. (1998). Rituals of blood: Consequences of slavery in two American centuries. Washington, DC: Civitas/Counterpoint

 

Shapiro, Robert J. and Kevin A. Hassett. "The economic benefits of reducing violent crime: A case study of 8 American cities." Center for American Progress, (2012). https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/06/pdf/violent_crime.pdf

 

Samuel, J. (2016) REACH Awards speech.

 

Sonn, C. C., Stevens, G., Duncan, N. (2013). Decolonisation, Critical methodologies and Why Stories Matter. In Race, Memory and The Apartheid Archive: Towards a Transformative Psychosocial Praxis, Chapter 15, p 295-214.


Author(s)

Jacqueline Samuel Jacqueline Samuel

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I discovered my decolonialize space in the arts through performing, visual arts, stage directing, curating, and producing. The process is liberating. With the arts being a reflection of life it provides me with a platform to engage, enlighten, and raise consciousness of audiences about topics and/or issues that they should be aware of.

 

When I realized that the arts were being taken out of the school system in the early 90’s, I made it my mission to integrate the arts in all that I do to demonstrate its significance and purpose in our lives. Sometimes subtle sometimes broad no matter which, the essence of the arts will always be evident in my work.

 

Two of my most inspiring performances touched on subjects about racism and Black woman empowerment. The play about racism was called “The Good Times are Killing Me” by Lynda Barry and “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” by Ntozoke Shange, a critically acclaimed collection of poetry about the awakening and empowerment of the Black woman. Some of my arts projects include but not limited to curating the artwork of Bernard Williams collection called “Black Cowboys”. Nothing filled my spirit more than watching a 13 years old Black male youth in a hypnotic gaze looking at Bernard’s work. Hosting Indira Johnson’s 8 Buddha sculptures representing peace placed throughout the South Chicago Community was also humbling. This project provided me with the opportunity to invite local artist to compliment Indira’s work by creating arts projects for peace with the residents at each sculpture location. Besides entertainment, I also have used the arts as a community development tool for beautification, preserving history, and telling our stories. I have made a huge leap from performing on stage to integrating the arts into the classroom and in communities.  I believe it was those creative experiences through collaborations and community engagement that provided a protective factor for me (and the participant) by reducing the psychological trauma of oppression and providing a decolonialize space as respite so that I could achieve the following accomplishments.

 

Jacqueline Samuel Ph.D. is the Program Director of the Master of Public Administration and Assistant Professor at National Louis University. She is actually returning to NLU as she earned her MA in Public Policy and Ph.D. in Community Psychology.  Previously Jacqueline served as the Project Manager for the Housing Authority of Cook County, South Suburban Safe and Thriving Communities Program to address youth violence in 3 suburban townships. She also facilitated and developed quality of life programs for 10 years in the South Chicago Area.  She has served on the Health and Healing committee/ Mayor’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, The Mayor’s Kitchen Cabinet Commercial Development Advisory, Advocate Trinity Hospital Community Health Council, Community Advisory Review Council for the Institute for Translational Medicine (CARC) and the Illinois ACE’s Response Collaborative.  Her dissertation was about community engagement titled, “Advancing the Block Club Model as a Violence Reduction Strategy”.  She was also a Co-Investigator for Community Academic Collaboration to Prevent Violence in Chicago Research for Lurie Children’s Hospital Strengthening Chicago’s Youth.  Her most recent awards include National Louis University REACH Award, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Courage Award, and the Chicago Police Department CAPS Award for the 4th District area.


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