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In the Aftermath of Gun Violence

With heaviness in our hearts, the UIC Counseling Center staff again acknowledges a seemingly relentless series of devastating violence in our nation. This past weekend alone, more than 220 people were killed by gun violence in the United States of America, including Jayland Walker, an unarmed black man killed by police in Akron, Ohio and seven parade spectators in nearby Highland Park, Illinois.

While the national attention, support, and compassion towards those impacted by the latter is warranted, the Counseling Center wants to recognize the gun violence that happens frequently in Chicagoland and specifically in our predominantly black and brown communities. The lack of similar support and compassion shown towards these marginalized communities is another manifestation of systemic white supremacy. We would also like to acknowledge the preferential treatment of alleged perpetrators in this oppressive system when there are not black or brown individuals involved. We condemn the vastly different police, media, and public response that perpetuates stereotypes and miscarriages of justice.

As mental health professionals, we understand that this is so much to process, especially when compounded with other recent events such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade and other legislative threats to the rights of womxn and the LGBTQ+ community. You may be feeling overwhelmed, activated, numb, fearful, rageful – any and all of these are valid responses to being inundated with a stream of traumatizing news, whether it touches on your own trauma history or is opening your eyes to what Governor Pritzker calls the “uniquely American plague” of gun violence.

Please know that you are not alone – we encourage you to join with the safe and supportive communities in your life for comfort, coping, and reassurance. If you’re looking to talk with someone for brief support, we invite you to join us in a drop-in space or a single-session appointment to process your reactions to current events. For more ongoing support, check out our peer support groups or call us at 312-996-3490 for an initial consultation.

For Further Reading

24-hour Crisis Line for Individuals Impacted by Gun Violence
Coping After Mass Violence
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after a Recent Shooting
Pause, Reset, Nourish
Resources for Children, Families, Educators, and Community Members After Mass Shootings
Resources for Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence
Responding to Racism
UIC Cultural Centers