But, context.

Historical context, Black bodies and vaccines 

“This country is under structural transformation. In a very real way. Our worth and our value is not supposed to be compared to the worth and value of others. When we are thinking of being the best or the worst, we are comparing ourselves to others and it is a misuse of our energy. The energy we use now and the next five years are essential to the success of our collective wellness.” — Jessica Lanyadoo, astrologer.  

As the country is quickly dividing on many, many issues into the vaccinated and not vaccinated, I want to quickly bring the focus back into context around trauma. 

I am who I am, so I will bring this back to the historical context of violence for Black people and our relationship to the health care system. The relationship is nothing short of a horror film. There is no place in present day awareness to ignore the truth about the long, horrifying and continuous relationship of our health care system and the Black community.  

This is not a note asking you to be vaccinated or to not be vaccinated, but a reminder to respect a process that our society is directly responsible for. The moderate turn-out for vaccination by the Black community makes total sense to me, especially in our elder population. I’m assuming that we understand that PTSD is and can be passed to your next generation through DNA; that is scientifically founded and supported. 

Let us review — although this is just one of literally thousands of scientific experiments done in the name of science and advancement of this country’s safety at the expense of Black bodies. The most infamous is the Tuskegee Experiment, where syphilis was given to Black people for 40 years, without informed consent. To further the point, when the government had a treatment, the people were not given the medication, nor had access or resources to get it themselves. 

The point of this story is that, even though the Black population is not the least vaccinated population in the U.S., we are being scapegoated as actively ignorant to the importance of this vaccine, as if our choice collectively is punitive and irresponsible. The truth of this assertion is: We have a very good reason. 

The highest population of non-vaccinated people are not Black, they are of European descent, they are white. Yet, we see this population as challenging their right to exist within free will? The double standard in this narrative is evidence of the racism we like to call pervasive. 

This is a reminder of knee-jerk reaction, equity in trauma informed care, and the narrative we allow to guide our conclusions. If you can be kind and responsive rather than reactive, personal and emotional healing and  growth can take hold. 

Ayisha Elliott’s podcast Black Girl From Eugene is raw and uncensored monologues and conversations about living while Black in the PNW. Listen locally at 11 am Sundays on FB Live; simulcast on KEPW 97.3 FM. Find it on all major podcasting platforms. You can support BGFE at Patreon.com/Blackgirlfromeugene_1.