How to cope with racial trauma: Homewood family attacked with hate speech

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Homewood family said they no longer felt secure in their own home after someone yelled a racial expression at them Monday night.

The attack happened on Beckham Drive and Berry Avenue in Homewood. The family said it’s a quiet neighborhood but the peace had been disturbed.

21-year-old college student Jordan Elliott lived in Homewood her entire life but what happened to her Monday night was a first.

Homewood family attacked with hate speech

“They see two Black people walking out of the car, and then immediately yell, ‘white power’ and started screaming it,” Elliott recalled.

Elliott said she and her boyfriend were returning home from shopping when unprovoked, two white men driving by in a white older model Chevy Silverado, with a dent on the drivers side door, hurled the racial expression at them.

“My reaction is, ‘Oh…’then I take a long pause, ‘My God that really just happened’,” Elliott said in disbelief.

Elliott’s mom, Felita Wilson, said she was shocked it happened here.

“He was just really hateful. He just kept getting louder and just growling,” Wilson said. “We’ve always felt welcomed.”

Because of the incident the family of five no longer felt secure.

“Coming home late and looking over your shoulder. I told my husband we have to get more cameras and lights put out because it’s so dark over here,” Wilson said.

Crystal Mullen-Johnson, CEO of Strive Counseling Services explained that experiencing racism can be traumatic.

“What we can’t do is control other responses to how they see us, and what they think about us, but you do have control over how you see yourself,” Mullen-Johnson explained.

Mullen-Johnson said it’s important not to replay attacks in your head.

“You do not have to take ownership of those negative statements,” Mullen-Johnson said.

For Elliot, a rising Senior at Samford University majoring in History and Law with a minor in race, ethnicity, and social justice, it was a real life lesson in the work that still needed to be done.

“I am asking for some type of talk, or repercussion from it for the simple fact that you did this, you disrespected people you hurt people and at the end of the day this shouldn’t happen,” Elliott said.

“It’s harassment,” Wilson chimed in.

“Right. It shouldn’t happen again,” said Elliott.

WBRC spoke to Homewood Police about the incident. They told us they were actively investigating the incident and criminal charges will be determined if a law was violated.

They told us no other incidents like this had been recently reported in Homewood.

The family said they planned to approach city leaders about adding more lighting to their street.

If you are experiencing affects to your sleep, appetite or daily functioning due to racial trauma it’s important to seek mental health support. Dial 988 for free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information services.

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