Reckoning With Racial Trauma in Rehabilitation Medicine

      The story of structural racism and brutality toward black and brown people is well known to the communities who endure it. While the suffocating stream of violence affecting these communities has been historically entrenched, this reality has too often been unseen or ignored by others. But as reports spread of George Floyd’s death in police custody in late May, the United States appeared to reach a tipping point. In this latest instance of a notorious pattern, a video showed Mr Floyd in handcuffs and subdued by 3 officers, with his neck lethally pinned beneath a fourth officer’s knee. “I can’t breathe,” Mr Floyd said in a tragically familiar refrain before his death. Two autopsies ruled his killing a homicide. Mr Floyd’s death, along with the recent extrajudicial killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, have catalyzed a rallying cry for justice. From policing to business to academia, the United States faces an overdue reckoning with the trauma of racism—a reckoning to which rehabilitation medicine is not immune.

      List of abbreviations:

      COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019)
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