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Arkansas therapist seeing more Black clients break 'generational curses'

It's been five days since a gunman killed 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store, but countless, including Black communities in Arkansas are still processing it.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Following the mass shooting in Buffalo, Black Americans are continuing to try and work through the grief and outrage.

Watching those images over and over again can be traumatizing.

Many ask why someone would commit such a senseless and violent act?

No matter who you ask, every person will have a different answer to that question.

Despite that, we must keep the conversation going and truly understand why something that happened hundreds of miles away is still having an effect here in Arkansas.

"I'm upset, I'm angry, but I'm not shocked," Shawn Woods, a community activist said. "As a black man, I feel like we're supposed to protect our communities."

Like so many, hearing about the mass shooting in Buffalo where an 18-year-old shot and killed 10 people, all of them black, is something that still sticks with Woods today.

Although so many in his community are hurting, there is still this feeling of repetition.

"We, as people have noticed that we're just starting to be numb to events and things that are going on," said Mariah Brown, a licensed counselor.

Considering incidents like what happened in Buffalo, the killing of George Floyd, and racism in general, Brown said she is seeing more clients who are feeling Woods' pain.

"It's affecting so many areas of our life and it's starting to go down. Now we're saying, you know, what, I need to do something different," said Brown.

Laportia Lackson said she's noticing a shift in Black clients who are striving to break a "generational curse."

"Within the African American community, there's a stigma of, 'hey, we don't need counseling, like we're strong, you know, we need God,'" said Jackson.

This a discussion that she's happy to see, with more people talking through their issues and getting to the root of the problem.

She encourages not just her race, but humans in general, to continue this conversation and work through mental trauma.

"It doesn't make you afraid, but it protects you and it helps you from exploding at the wrong time," Jackson said.

Woods continues to work toward that change, but it can only happen if people never stop talking about it. 

"We're hurting and we need to speak out, and no one ever comes to assess how we feel," Woods said. 

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