Lessons Learned | Lifestyle | Organizing // Social Justice

(Part 1) Anguish, Organizing, Activism: Great Rise?

October 7, 2017

A black psychologist that I know with sent this to me the other night (without him even knowing my personal story).

I made the mistake of opening the email and reading it before bed. Needless to say, I did not sleep well and that morning thinking about it more, I felt like my head is about to explode!

Until I can work through my anger and sadness that this article has stirred in me as it hits too close to home with my ex (an Awo/Baba and well-known organizer in NY and his crew of activists there), I can only share the following links at this time.

Here is the article: http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/trauma-black-activism/

Here are two posts that kinda touch on my experience:

1) http://www.courtneycrosslin.com/lessons-learned/

2) http://www.courtneycrosslin.com/reflections-2017-justice-karma-korryn-energy-vampires-dark-night-of-the-soul/

Below are some quotes from the HuffPo article that REALLY resonate with my feelings and experiences dealing with organizers and activists — And this is why I’m often annoyed when folks try to call out people for not getting involved in “the work” as I know most who say that, have not been deep in it and have no idea the kind of mental anguish it causes nor the levels of toxicity in those circles.

This is why codes of ethics and check-and-balances are necessary. Folks/orgs just popping up all around, doing whatever they want – treating people however they want – dismissing/disposing of folks who question their integrity/agenda… This is why much of what we now call activism is nothing more than a social just reality show and popularity contest. Lots of talk, but little actually getting done.


After my experience, I felt like I was alone, called bitter and jealous for calling MY OWN partner out…and basically “exiled” from folks I had spent a ridiculous amount of time and money working with for nothing in return — because I was “new” to their circle and had no interest in “being out there” anymore.

*And what’s funny — none of them (mostly young) had no idea of the work I’d done in the past and who I knew. They only saw me as “his girlfriend” and constantly commented on how lucky I was.*

Hitting my lowest point and thinking I was crazy and that I might have just been imagining things, I started reaching out to many Sisters I knew who were still deep in organizing. Turns out, all had experienced similar and/or had stories of many other (mainly) women who had experienced what I’d gone through.

But what does one do with all of this? How do you address when you’ve never been one out there in the public eye with the bullhorn? Who do you turn to for advice, support or resolution? Even I, who has close connections with Black Psychologists had nowhere to turn for “help.”

The answers eventually came to me and I’ll share more on that later, but for now, I wanted to share this because it is a very serious matter that f*cks up our ability to really “be free” and liberated.

Folks roll into crews, and roll right back out after getting a taste of the dysfunction. And rarely if ever are sustainable movements or foundations built.

Until we get real about our own stuff in our own communities, start holding folks accountable and stop cosigning to folks BS, this will continue.


“America broke my heart. Black people broke my spirit.”

“But he told me that when he sought guidance from an older guard of black activists—civil rights leaders, the heads of churches, black nationalists—they rebuffed him. He was told he had to earn the right to organize in Chicago.”

“Ja’Mal Green, a 21-year-old whom Jedidiah had once considered a protégé, dismissed him on social media as a puppet with a slave mentality. Jedidiah believed he was doing the harder thing, trying to bring the segregated city together. Yet the pain of being forsaken—by the very people he felt he served—it buckled him.”

“I don’t have another 10 years to give.”

“Jedidiah joked to his visitors that he fled the hospital because black people don’t believe in therapy. But then an activist friend sitting at the kitchen table offered cautiously that he’d spent time in a mental hospital. He said he wasn’t sure he’d be alive without it. Several other organizers shared that they had battled depression after everything they’d experienced in the streets. Their desperate efforts to rescue everyone meant they were tortured by the inevitable failures. Lamon said 15 of his friends had been killed in Chicago over the last couple of years and he’d gone into a dark place too many times to count. Others told Jedidiah they had thought about dying and, in some cases, had tried to kill themselves—they’d just had the sense not to put it on blast on Facebook Live.”

Source: http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/trauma-black-activism/

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