Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Derrick Chauvin Trial Retraumatizing For Many

 April 2, 2021 at 1:37 PM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 The trauma felt around the nation as George Floyd's death is shown in the Derrick Shovan trial. Speaker 2: 00:06 The trauma is generational. It's happened over time generation after generation. Okay. Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition, Good plans for environmental justice in the San Diego Bay. Speaker 3: 00:29 This is going to be part of our operations, our lens, and how we look at things is through the environmental justice lens. Speaker 1: 00:36 And we'll tell you, what's on the arts and culture scene in San Diego this weekend. That's ahead on midday edition Shown over and over again. And the Derrick Shovan trial this week, Chauvin's knee and George Floyd's neck, while he was on the ground handcuffed and pleading for his life. Even for several minutes after he went limp, witness testimony was emotional with a deep sense of trauma. And that trauma is being felt by many people who have seen the video and are watching the trial. Starla Lewis is a professor of black studies at Mesa college and SDSU. She teaches a class on transcending racism and the psychological history of racism and sexism. Starla welcome. Speaker 2: 01:36 Thank you. Good to be here Speaker 1: 01:38 First. How are you doing this week? Speaker 2: 01:40 Well, you know, the reality is it comes and goes. It was a traumatic experience to witness it, but because of what I teach, I've studied it, you know, from the beginning, uh, when we were being lynched every two and a half days for 50, some odd years. And so I have a, I think I have developed a defense mechanism that allows me to view it, but I don't do it over and over again. In other words, when it comes on, I don't continue to watch it. Speaker 1: 02:12 You've been talking to your students this week about the trial. What are you hearing from them? Speaker 2: 02:17 Well, the students have been traumatized because they went through a period. We'll call it the Obama period where they could, they were being taught that the post racism and that we've made all these great strides. And so for them to witness a murder and then to have to deal with the fact that it doesn't jive, that there's all these great strides. That's been very traumatizing for them, and they're not prepared for it because see, if you don't acknowledge what he is and prepare your children to deal with what is then they're defenseless. And so it makes it more traumatic. You see the conversations around transcending racism, the conversations around us, systemic biases, et cetera, are so necessary for our healing because you can't address something that you don't know exist. And as I'm doing my trainings, what I'm hearing people say, especially white people is that they didn't think racism still existed. So how can you get rid of something if you don't even acknowledge that it's, it's real, Speaker 1: 03:27 You know, it's not just the video and the testimony that, uh, can be traumatizing. Uh, in what ways do you think the defense is effort to put George Floyd on the stand impacts us? Speaker 2: 03:39 Well, I think that that those of us who live in the black communities and have experienced being black in America, I understand that that's always one of the reasons I believe that the officer acted so violently toward him was because we teach officers that black people are criminals. And so there is an, our psyche that fear of black men that has been perpetuated since, uh, black people released from slavery. Speaker 1: 04:10 And how do you think those experiences, the criminalization of black skin, um, changes the way that communities of color in particular move in society? Speaker 2: 04:21 Well, I think, um, when they go outside of their community, they become very cautious. I even think some become very anxious. And I also think that the trauma is generational. You know, it's not just happening right now. It's happened over time generation after generation. And I think that, uh, in fact, I've read and I've, I've, uh, documented that the medical profession, the mental health profession has said that black, young, black men walk around with post-traumatic stress at a level that's higher than young men coming back from the war. Speaker 1: 04:59 Hmm. How do these events, you know, um, we're talking from George Floyd to Brianna Taylor, uh, Mohd Auberry, uh, the list goes on and on how do these, uh, examples impact us in society? You think? Speaker 2: 05:17 Well, that it goes from everything from shame and guilt to rage, but I would say that the greatest challenge is it's crazy naked. First. It makes you distrustful of law enforcement, which we shouldn't be because they're there to protect us. But when you see young black man after young black man handled the way they're handled in videos, because this isn't the only video video we've seen, and this isn't the last man to die at the hands of, um, excessive force. And so I think, uh, from Trayvon Martin, I S I'm still recovering from Trayvon Martin and it was about 10 years ago. And so think it's important that we understand that it's not just the police, that that gets a pass on killing black people, but it's also civilians who are in fear of black people that get a pass. And we saw that with the Trayvon Martin case. Speaker 1: 06:16 So what ways can people protect their mental and emotional wellbeing in light of this trial happening this way? Speaker 2: 06:23 Well, I think when you learn history, you understand that this isn't anything new. And so you understand what did we do that kept us sane and what got us to this point where we are today. And I think it's about acknowledging our own value and worth. I think it's about loving ourselves in a deep and profound way. I think it's about being able to look at truth and accept that it is what it is, and then developing all kinds of personal strategies. One of the ways I kept myself sane, um, and, and I've used it with George Freud's murder as well, is that I would go up to young black men and women, but mostly men. And I would say to them, and I share with you. And then I would say to them, you're beautiful. You're brilliant. You're powerful. You're valuable. And your life matters. I remember one group of young black men said to me, thank you, nobody validates us. We need validation. So I seeing the beauty in everybody and especially taking time to let young black men and women know that I care. I see, I know, and that you can transcend this. Speaker 1: 07:39 I've been speaking with Starla Lewis, a professor of black studies at Mesa college and SDSU Starla, thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 07:47 Thank you for having me. Speaker 1: 07:55 The public agency that manages the tide lands around San Diego Bay is considering adjusting the way it does business KPBS, environmental reporter. Eric Anderson says the port of San Diego's new master plan. A planning document for the next three decades could include a focus on environmental justice. Speaker 4: 08:17 When trucks rumble through Bayside San Diego neighborhoods, some see economic vitality, but the economic payload comes with a cost, a cost that's frequently paid by neighborhoods like Barrio Logan, Speaker 2: 08:30 Logan. Isn't a top 5% of the most polluted areas by diesel pollution in the state of California, Speaker 4: 08:37 Diane tech vori, and works with the environmental health coalition for 30 years, she's pushed Barrio Logan residents to lobby the port of San Diego to clean up its operations. Tech Dorian says pollution. There pushes local asthma rates up, and that's not the only health impact, Speaker 2: 08:54 Some of highest rates of, uh, COVID, uh, infections and mortality in Barrio, Logan, national city, and other parts of the South Bay. So this is serious people's lives depend on it. Yeah. Speaker 4: 09:06 Local residents forced the port to listen as commissioners debated a concrete contract with Mitsubishi late last year, the neighborhood cried out about too much truck traffic linked to the project and the port shelled. The idea. Speaker 5: 09:20 Yeah, there's been a gradual transition towards collaboration. Speaker 4: 09:25 Jason Giffen says the agency is considering doing something that's rare. They're looking at being one of the first ports in California to add an environmental justice element to their master planning document. Giffen says that'll help Bayside communities. Speaker 5: 09:40 They, they have more than their fair share of impacts. We look at this as an opportunity and we look at it as a way to guide the future together, to reduce impacts specifically around some of the neighboring communities around the port Speaker 4: 09:54 Change would force the port to do more than just consider economic, recreational or public access issues. When they consider projects or leases in the tide lands, the agency would have to consider how policies or projects impact nearby neighborhoods. Speaker 5: 10:09 We're at a point and inflection point where we can really set the balance for the next 30 years and really focus on improving air quality, environmental quality. And recently we've really seen an investment by the port and an acceleration into advancing clean water and clean air programs at activities that are Marine terminals, and also in the working waterfront. Speaker 4: 10:28 The port is already moving to electrify vehicles, Marine terminals, and there are efforts to move truck traffic around residential neighborhoods. There's also a push to increase access to transit, but the environmental health coalitions, longtime leader, eyes, the move with some skepticism. Speaker 2: 10:46 It's, it's a good sentiment and it's an important goal, but what's really important is that they actually, um, materialize that in the actions that they take. Speaker 4: 10:57 It's the push to keep environmental justice from being just a paper change has allies on the board of port commissioners, board chair, Michael [inaudible] says the port wants healthy thriving neighbors. He says, clean air is important to him. And he thinks electrification of port vehicles is an important strategy Speaker 6: 11:16 To lead on this issue. We'll get the funding, the grant funding, the support that needs to make these transitions. And I want to make sure the ports on the front side of that Speaker 4: 11:25 And the board of port commissioners, newest members, Sandy neuron, ho from national city wants to build on progress that is already happening Speaker 6: 11:33 Or is shifting. And, and I want to be, as my role is poor commissioner. I want to push for that. So we can be leading, not just in our region, but in our state and national Speaker 4: 11:46 Toronto brings a history of community activism to the job. And she's excited that the port's master planning document will have that environmental justice element. Speaker 1: 11:56 This is going to be part of our operations, our lens, and how we look at things is through the environment, Speaker 4: 12:02 Recovering from the financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic will grab a lot of attention at the port this year, but the agency could also keep Bayside neighbors in the discussion. If environmental justice becomes part of the business equation, Eric Anderson, KPBS news, Speaker 1: 12:27 You're listening to KPBS midday edition I'm Jade Hindman. If you're looking to get a dose of culture this weekend and still feeling a bit housebound, our arts picks this weekend, have a domestic spin to them from an exhibition of women, artists to a feminist film series that centers on gender and the home. There's lots to see and do this weekend. Joining me is KPBS arts editor, Julia Dickson Evans, with all the details. Welcome Julia. Hi Jade. Thanks for having me. So in the North County, the ocean side museum of art reopens today, what's on view there. Speaker 7: 13:02 Yeah, so they have their 20 women artists now exhibition it's curated by Alessandra Moctezuma and there's tons of works. Some of my favorites are the glowing acrylic and color film sculpture by KRA Fukiyama. She had made this piece for the San Diego art prize show last year. There's also a bunch of figurative sculptures of Manulita Brown, including some new ones inspired by the last year. There's also in caustic work by mixed media artist. Might they Benito I Kania. And all you do is you book a time slot to visit when you purchase your ticket in advance, Speaker 1: 13:38 The Oceanside museum of art, 20 women artists. Now exhibition is on view. Now through August 1st, the museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 to five and Sundays until four. And the domestic geographies exhibition. Now at the front in San, you see Joe has been underway since last month and this week marks the launch of the associated film series. It's called home that obscure object of desire. Tell us about this. Speaker 7: 14:06 Yeah. So this is curated by Eatsa Martinez duck and [inaudible], she is a documentary filmmaker currently based in Tijuana. The program has six films. They're all iconic feminist works from the last 50 or so years from around the world. They're all viewable online for free, and they all kind of touch on these domestic gendered constructs. One example is Shanta Ackerman's short, 1968 work. It translates to blow up my town, the title it's a silent film and a woman just goes about her day. She does all of these mundane tasks like reading, feeding the cat, and then blows up the world. And there is on a more serious note. There's a full length, 2016 Mexican documentary called [inaudible], which Chronicles five survivors of domestic violence. And one that caught my eye was in 1975 work by American performance artists, Martha Rosler, it's called semiotics of the kitchen and she identifies and names, kitchen objects in alphabetical order and kind of pantomimes using them. It draws on the popularity of cooking shows of the time it's weirdly mesmerizing and here's a clip Speaker 3: 15:17 Greater hamburger, press ice pick. Speaker 1: 15:38 Um, very interesting. That's the short film semiotics of the kitchen from the domestic geographies film program films are available to stream on demand now through April 11th and in the theater world, the Globe's Friday night word up virtual event caught our eye and caught your eye this week. Tell us a little bit about this program and how we can all tune in. Yeah, Speaker 7: 16:01 It's like a weekly theater masterclass Madlibs game and hang session all combined. They bring in special guests to discuss come some kind of element of performance. And sometimes it's theater and sometimes it's theater adjacent or in storytelling or poetry. It's a live event you can participate if you'd like, but it's also available online in the archives to watch later this week's is Commedia dell'arte, which translates in Italian to comedy of the profession, which emerged in 16th century, Italy. It uses kind of archetype and stock characters for humor. And it also centers around masks, which is kind of timely. One of the earliest times also when women were able to portray women characters on the stage and the guests this week are Tiwan is Valerie of Vega and his Zeus Conterra, they're both part of the Tijuana theater scene and Cantero is also a renowned prop mask and costume designer. So I think it's going to be a really great discussion of theater, history of masks and design, as well as character and comedy. And just to check in with what's going on on the Tijuana theaters. Speaker 1: 17:10 Great word up is tonight at 6:00 PM on the old Globe's YouTube channel. And finally the Athenaeum art center has been producing short recorded videos of solo piano music called the Logan loan piano concerts. Tell us about these. Speaker 7: 17:27 You can find quite a selection of them. There are stripped down piano performances and they post them on their YouTube channel. It's basically a single grand piano in the newly renovated Athenaeum art center space in Barea Logan. They've had jazz musicians like Joshua White Mara K Clinton Davis. And the latest is Carrie feller, who is from the wave bands Hexa and ours. She also has solo workout. So she's kind of more of a golf rock musician. It's really great to see her in this space and the raw piano stripped down format. She performed two pieces in her concert. Both of them are originals, and here's a little clip from prelude in terror. Speaker 3: 18:32 [inaudible] sounds intense. Carrie fellers, Logan lone piano concert is viewable on the Anthony M art center's YouTube channel. Now for more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia, thanks so much. Speaker 7: 18:55 Thanks Jane. Have a great weekend. You too.

The first week of witness testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial and repeated showings of the video of the former police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd have been retraumatizing for many people. Plus, the public agency that manages the tidelands around San Diego Bay is considering adjusting the way it does business to include environmental justice. And, a look at the art events for this weekend in SanSan Diego County.