Amidst "Police Burnout," Black Communities Struggle With Collective Grief

Zain Murdock
March 13, 2023

Burnout is a severe condition entailing absolute mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. And police nationwide say they’re struggling with it, from witnessing trauma to buckling under civilians’ criticism. 

One police union president explicitly blames us, saying, “They don’t stop. Resisting has become common nature.”

In 2022, police killed a record-breaking 1,176 people. Since then, going into 2023, there have already been several highly-publicized police killings that have worn down our collective and individual spirits. 

But they’re the ones burnt out? Maybe their anti-Blackness is making them sick.

Police hoard the funding and resources we could use for things like community centers and trauma response. And because their killings don’t stop, we don’t even get the time to properly heal from our collective grief.

Historically, self-care has been essential to persevering in the fight for Black liberation. The term “self-care” began in the medical field, then became political along with “community care” around the 60s, 70s, and 80s, with figures like the Black Panthers and disabled writer Audre Lorde popularizing the term even more.

But even before then, our ancestors had coping skills to survive. That’s why we exist today. We must continue to resist and reclaim our autonomy to take care of ourselves.

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