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June 2017

Thoughts and Response to Authority-Perpetrated, Discriminatory, and Race-Based Violence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope, Duarte, California
  • 2School of Social Work, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 3Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(6):511-512. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0137

On a summer drive in 2016, my son and I (K.T.A.) happily chatted about his planned activities for the day while he attended camp. As we listened to the news on the car radio, we were silenced and horrified to hear about the second killing of a young African American man in as many days. We both started crying, and I asked my son, “How do you feel?” He responded somberly, “I am sad Mama… and afraid. I do not feel safe. This [country] does not feel like it is my home.” That exchange is now a prominent, recurrent experience embedded in our minds and hearts. We are dealing with police shootings resulting in publicly witnessed deaths of mostly African American men and women, deaths of Dallas police officers serving and protecting their communities, and “not guilty” verdicts for the 2015 police shooting of a young African American woman in Los Angeles and the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody. We are also witnessing a rise in racial discord and violence after the November 2016 political elections.

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