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Office of Diversity and Equity

What is Racial Trauma? Information and Resources

What is Racial Trauma?

Racial trauma is the term used to describe the emotional and physical reaction that People of Color often have to acts of racism.  People of Color may react to acts of racism with fear and hypervigilance, headaches, insomnia, body aches, memory difficulty, self-blame, confusion, shame, and guilt after experiencing racism. The more often you experience acts of racism, the more profound these symptoms can be.


Why is important to learn about racial trauma?

The power of acknowledgment and validation.  As a WCSU colleague and/or student of color, you may find yourself having a very difficult time feeling calm, feeling safe, feeling empowered when you are reminded of the racial injustices in our world. Knowing that you are not alone and that this reaction is warranted and normal can help. There is not “right” way of processing or reacting to racial trauma. But, the first step is learning about it.


What related resources can I find on this webpage?

You will find many resources to help validate the experience racial trauma, learn about intergenerational trauma and the potential impact of repeated experiences of racism. You will also find resources that will help you feel calm, feel empowered and feel safe despite the consistent reminders of racial injustice. The WCSU Office of Counseling Services is here to offer continual support with hopes that you find this list helpful.

As always, if you would like to meet with a counselor to talk more about racial trauma or feel triggered by any of these resources please contact the WCSU Office of Counseling Services at by email: https://www.wcsu.edu/counseling/ or by phone: (203) 837-8690 to provide additional support through counseling.


Pre-recorded Videos, webinars and training information on racial trauma and healing​ 

Racial Trauma Intro: https://vimeo.com/286601676 

What is Racial Trauma: https://vimeo.com/286616454

African American Mental Health Facts & Info: https://vimeo.com/286601688

Key Community and Self Care Strategies: https://vimeo.com/286601334

Guided Meditation on Racial Healing and Empowerment: https://vimeo.com/287515944


Coping with Racism and Racial Trauma – Part I (Recorded on June 16, 2020)

University of Maryland Medical System

Webinar: https://youtu.be/-3FNnlQBARo

Slideshow: https://www.umms.org/-/media/files/umms/covid-19/messages-to-community/not-all-wounds/racial-trauma-part-1.pdf?upd=20200622155201&la=en&hash=1D89B84C955F854296D96FE563A8B38367845941

Coping with Racism and Racial Trauma – Part II (Recorded on June 18, 2020)

University of Maryland Medical System

Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6NaeY0aqmY&feature=youtu.be

Slideshow: https://www.umms.org/-/media/files/umms/covid-19/messages-to-community/not-all-wounds/racial-trauma-part-2.pdf?upd=20200622155211&la=en&hash=BF99AF9EF6484E24D9D25E5B5BFC7687B7E5D501


Upcoming Webinars on Racial Trauma and Healing


Monday, August 3, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Social Justice in Schools

Webinar description: Systemic racism and anti-Black structures exist in all institutions in our society, and schools are no exception. In fact, underlying assumptions of epistemology are based on the Greco-Roman systems of knowledge, which inherently devalue African, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous ways of knowing. In this webinar, we will deconstruct these racist assumptions, and then discuss various ways school counselors can use ecological theory to build a social justice program that addresses intrapersonal, interpersonal, immediate system, and larger system views to promote a culturally affirming school for all students. Participants will commit to working toward culturally affirming structures and practices in their schools.

To register, please click this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkfuyuqTosH9zgRyJVRq2lSwTN0y1ENb0H


Tuesday, August 11, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

What is Racial Trauma? Understanding How Trauma Affects the Black Community

Webinar description: Racism, whether subtle or direct, has long-term impacts on the mental and behavioral health of Black communities. While COVID-19 and racial injustice protests may have brought on new trauma, years of systematic racism, discrimination, and microaggressions have forced Black communities to live in a constant state of high alert, causing traumatic stress.

To register, please click this link: http://go.relias.com/hhs_wbn_2020-08-11_what-is-racial-trauma_reg.html


Tuesday, September 15, 2020, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.(recommended for faculty and staff)

Invisible Wounds of Racial Trauma: How to use awareness of race as an RA trainer

Webinar description: When we think trauma, we think sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence. We rarely think about the impact of overt racism, the daily indignities and slights of living in a racialized world, and the intergenerational effects of historical traumas such as slavery. Therefore, you can’t really be trauma-informed unless you are race-informed. To do this, we must unpack how we all, whites and people of color, are racially socialized and how to counteract its legacy. This webinar will take on these critically important issues and discuss how it applies to the content of Risking Connection and presenting RC trainings.

To register, please click this link: https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/3540812675182825985


Tuesday, October 13, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (recommended for faculty and staff)

14thAnnual RC Day of Learning and Sharing

Sponsorship on registration fees are available for a limited number of faculty and staff, please inquire with the Office of Diversity and Equity at ode@wcsu.edu

Mindfulness: The Inner Work of Racial Healing and Trauma-Informed Care

Event Description: Participants will engage in rich community-building activities, learn about the cutting-edge neuroscience of mindfulness, gain insight about how to make mindfulness trauma-sensitive, understand the important role of mindfulness in anti-racism work, and discover how mindfulness can expand the collective healing power of our growing Risking Connection community.  At a time when our nation is in much need of healing – from the stress and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic to the suffering and destruction caused by historical and ongoing racial trauma – this event will inspire and empower RC Trainers and treaters to promote the hope and healing we all so deeply desire.

To register, please click this link: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eh7c472m9de9aba9&oseq=&c=&ch=