FIER was founded in 2020 amidst the countless protests against police brutality and rampant xenophobia stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic. Our name, the Foundation for Inter-Ethnic Restoration, came from our desire to unite different ethnic/racial groups and address racial tension in society.
Our mission is to improve racial literacy, education and inspire civic engagement by creating open discussions about racial trauma.
FIER is a melange of experts, mental health professionals and volunteers all dedicated to providing an innovative approach to tackling racial trauma. Whether through mediation, discussion, or civic engagement, we strive for the betterment of our communities.
A myriad of statistics about hate crimes, racial discrimination and social disparities across institutions can easily relay the extent to which our society is permeated by racial bias and prejudice. However, there is another underlying factor that often goes undetected: gaslighting.
Gaslighting, derived from the classic feature film "Gaslight" (1944) refers to an attempt to silence victims by questioning their memory and sanity; therefore, invalidating their experience.
In a racial context, gaslighting is often the initial, knee-jerk response to recounting or confronting an encounter with racism/discrimination.
Statements such as:
"I don’t think that was about racism.”
“Racism doesn’t exist anymore,”
"You’re too sensitive.”
can have a disparaging effect on and, while some exchanges with racism/discrimination are violent or lethal, others can also be chronic, subtle micro-aggressions--both of which forms have lasting psychological effects; hence introducing the term racial trauma.
Racial trauma, coined by Dr. Monica Williams, begs academia and all other institutions to pay attention to the psychological aftermath of racially tense experiences on an individual's psyche. Yet, to date, the American Psychology Association's DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual fo Mental Disorders] has never acknowledged the role of racism and ethnoviolence in the development of PTSD--one of many symptoms of racial trauma.
This, then, leaves our minority communities with many questions, all of which relate to our organization's mission:
1) What resources exist to provide a safe space for victims of hate crimes and/or racism to discuss their experiences?
2) How can differing racial/ethnic communities come together to share insight, support and solidarity for one another?
3) How can we raise community awareness about racial trauma and, ultimately raise racial literacy?
That's where we come in. Help us light a spark and ignite change within our community.
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According to research conducted by the United States Department of Justice in 2020, 68% of *single-bias incidents were motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry.
[*A single-bias incident is defined as an incident in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias.] (Click here to learn more)
Anti-race/ethnicity/ancestry offenses have been the most prevalent offense since 1996; these offenses have also increased the most, accounting for 42% of the rise in hate crime between 2014 and 2019. (Click here to learn more.)
Listen to a highlight of our interview with FIER Research Assistant, Naziat Hassan-Ahmed as she talks about life after 9/11 and more!
Check out this highlight of our interview with Hima as she describes growing up in the US as an immigrant.