Black Men Meditate empowers over ‘stigma, judgement, and identity politics’ through mindfulness
Only 6% of Black men seek mental health support. Black Men Meditate is an organization dedicated to improving the health, balance, social and economic strength of a population dealing within a unique set of circumstances.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Numbers from the American Psychiatric Association shows less than one out of 10 Black men seek mental health support. It’s a daunting reality for a population that faces stigma and judgement. Now one organization is breaking barriers by taking mindfulness where it’s needed most.
There’s an old African proverb that says, ‘rain does not fall on one roof alone.’ And when your community is averaging more rainy days than sunny ones, it kind of makes you wonder.
“Resilience is the ability to be able to continue to triumph in the face of adversity,” Dejr Bostick, Black Men Meditate founder. “I’m a firm believer that meditation is for those individuals that need instant access to a calmer you.”
Black Men Meditate is an organization dedicated to improving the health, balance, social and economic strength of a population dealing within a unique set of circumstances. It may be quiet at this West Greenville yoga studio now, but it was born out of the number of Black men killed in unarmed police shootings over the last decade.
“Between the (police) officers, and the killings and the shootings -- I think that’s what created the alarm for me,” Bostick said. “One of the things that I noticed as a constant strand was that (both sides) became anxious. And in the process of them becoming anxious, that’s when triggers were firing, so I wanted to be able to show Black men how to calm quickly.”
Then came the murder of George Floyd and the social justice wave of 2020.
“Here I am a protestor, but I’ve got to go to work and see a myriad of different individuals that might not have the same thoughts and feeling that I have,” Bostick said. “So how do I keep myself calm from the anger.”
That’s one end of the spectrum but grappling with internal identity politics was another.
“I had to first identity that I am not that individual. That I have the opportunity to be able to be still, calm and I’m totally different,” he said. “The things going on around me didn’t dictate what I was going to become.”
And it’s that revelation which has propelled Bostick to take Black Men Meditate to predominantly Black schools, businesses and other public spaces in the Carolinas and Georgia.
“It’s commitment, persistence and renewal,” he said.
And data shows it’s needed. While only 6% of Black men seek mental health support, studies show they’re a unique population dealing with the cumulative effects of discrimination and stress. And the effects of racism, even for more educated and higher paid Black men has mental and physical costs.
“Navigating White spaces is not hard when you know who you are,” Bostick said.
“The solution to everything that we do is by stilling the mind,” added Shawn Rashad, who practices meditation. “If we get our children to do that, if we as adults and parents can start doing that -- the sooner the better.”
Going within, and enhancing resilience from the inside, out.
On Jan. 26, Black Men Meditate will launch a 12-week challenge entitled the C.P.R. (Commitment, Persistence and Renewal) Transformation program. It’s described as a boot camp to teach men how to meditate, how to identify their limits and beliefs, and the five phases of transformation. A webinar is planned for Jan. 15. To learn more, visit here: https://dkbschool.teachable.com/p/cpr-transformation-program-for-black-men or https://www.facebook.com/blackmenmeditate/
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