Black Lives Matter – A Message from BIAWA
The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington is heartbroken and outraged by the senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis, and countless others who came before them. We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protestors in our communities speaking up and speaking out, to demonstrate against the systematic racism that has divided us and plagued the United States for centuries.
Black Lives Matter
We are particularly concerned for the Black members of our brain injury community. Living with a brain injury during COVID-19 already adds additional stressors to daily life, but recent events can contribute to heightened levels of anxiety and PTSD, which are common triggers for those living with a brain injury. Additionally, the internet is providing a glimpse into the real-time acquisition of brain injuries, as we watch videos of peaceful protestors acquiring brain injuries from police violence. Martin Gugino in Buffalo and Justin Howell in Austin are just some examples of how the world watches in horror as our brain injury community grows.
We pledge to do the following:
- Amplify the voices of Black individuals living with brain injury through our social media channels and our podcasts;
- Continue efforts to diversify our Board of Directors;
- Dialogue with our stakeholders to include more voices from the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities;
- Ensure that our advocacy work in all our work includes the voices of BIPOC, who disproportionately suffer from brain injuries;
- Use BIAWA’a demographic data to identify how we are serving the BIPOC community and see if there are unmet needs within the community that we can address;
- Encourage BIPOC to apply for our academic scholarships and award at least 1 scholarship per year to a BIPOC member of our community;
- Educating our staff and board on how to be actively anti-racist;
- Actively recruit, hire, and retain more BIPOC staff for better representation of our diverse brain injury community; and
- Discuss action steps by BIAWA and individual Board members on action steps taken
Black Lives Matter
In addition to the action steps by the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington as an organization, we also see a role for individuals to do more, including:
- Reach out to your Black colleagues, friends, and neighbors, and begin a dialogue;
- Reach out to all members of the black community and their caregivers if they are living with brain injury;
- Support and engage with organizations that are committed to improving the lives of Black people living with disabilities;
- Listen to the needs of those in the Black community. Practice ‘radical listening’, where you allow others to fully express themselves without the need to respond;
- Be an ally for the Black community and the disability community;
- Speak out against racism (both publicly and privately); and
- Educate yourself. Read, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries on systematic racism and the effects on Black lives and communities
We would like everyone living with a brain injury to know that we are here for you, especially if you need extra support given the recent traumatic events. You can always reach us on the Brain Injury Hotline at 1-877-982-4292 or join our Virtual Brain Injury Support Group on June 19th . (please register to attend). There are plenty of other resources available to you on our website.
At BIAWA, our mission is to provide hope for those affected by brain injury. In this world that is currently rife with disease, uncertainty, racism, senseless violence, and the blatant disregard for Black lives, we would like you all to join us in promoting inclusion, acceptance, justice, kindness, and most importantly, hope for all.