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How Nowhere Feels Safe When You're Black With Mental Illness

I opened my Sunday edition of my local paper and it read “10 Dead in Buffalo Hate Crime Shooting.” The last thing I needed to wake up to on a Sunday morning.

I am Black, lesbian, and disabled, and there is nowhere safe for me. I cannot even wander into a grocery store to casually shop for groceries with out fear for my life. To heighten this fear, my Governor just signed a bill into law that makes it legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

I am clear he is thinking of his white Republican comrades when he pushed his bill. I am sure not considering Black people may now move to lawfully arm themselves. We are being hunted in the streets like animals.

News of this shooting lands me depressed and scared. I already deal with depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). I already am generally fearful of violence and ending up in a situation where I can be attacked. I wonder how Blacks in the early 20th century felt about the Klu Klux Klan and the Jim Crow laws. I just know they were scared and fearful of leaving their homes and of being lynched. That is how I feel. For now, I see my home as my only sanctuary. I have become more and more reclusive as time has gone on and wonder when I will be too trapped to even leave my home.

When you live with a trauma history and mental illness, you spend a lot of time in your head. You wonder if the world will ever be safe enough for you to be active in it.

Violence against Black people by white extremist is endemic in our society. When you are Black and live with a mental illness and PTSD, you can never find a place in your mind where you feel safe. Violence like this past weekend reminds me that I am considered a threat and nowhere is safe for me. Others

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