Wisconsin in Black & White

Lilada Gee on generational trauma and the Black experience

Defending Black Girlhood President Lilada Gee considers the long history of racism and injustice visited upon Black people in the United States and the struggle to pursue healing for these traumas.

By Nathan Denzin | Here & Now

November 16, 2023

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Lilada Gee:
It can, and the interesting thing is that, you know, so if you go back to one of my ancestors who was taken from Africa and the trauma that that had, it wasn't just that trauma, then it was the trauma of the boat riding over here. Then it was the trauma of being enslaved. Then it was the trauma of that experience, and then it was the trauma of being raped. And there was the trauma of your children being taken away. And then you bring it forward and you go through the reconstruction period of time and how the trauma happened to Black people then, you go through the 50s and the 60s and the civil rights and the trauma that happened to black people then. And then here I come, I was born in 1965 in the middle of civil rights, and so it wasn't just one thing. So then it's trauma upon trauma upon trauma upon trauma that is there. And so how long it can last, how many generations it can last, I'm not really sure of that. But what I do know is that if you don't have the experience to be able to heal, then that trauma remains there. And you know, Black women and Black girls when they were enslaved, when and where did they have the opportunity to heal? It wasn't there. And so much of what we have learned is swallow your pain because no one cares anyway. No one's gonna do anything for me, no one's coming to save you. And so that trauma just continues to be relived over and over again.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.