‘It’s okay to not be okay’: How to handle emotions brought up from Derek Chauvin trial

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It’s been a full week of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial, in a case that caught the attention of the nation, the death of George Floyd. The trial coverage now bringing up raw emotions for some in our community.

“Seeing these types of things and, you know, the violence. It is like triggering, almost, and it just kind of replays, over and over,” said Nichole Lee.

Lee was one of the activists in Wichita moved by Floyd’s death in the summer.

“I feel like I lost a brother. Even though I didn’t know this man personally, I just feel so attached to him and the story and the situation.”

The trial has been filled with emotional testimony and video. Lee, like many others, is choosing to take a step back from the coverage.

Dr. Aaron Austin, the Dean of Students at Wichita State University, also oversees the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. He says graphic images in the trial, can impact some emotionally and physically.

“There’s research out there that talks about how racism and racial trauma is actually felt like the body receives it as a physical assault. It can affect your just general health, how you feel, the way you sleep, your thought patterns. It can be really traumatic that’s why we call it trauma.”

If you are watching and feeling emotional, Dr. Austin suggests unplugging and doing something for yourself.

“You want to get outside and exercise, do that. If you’re somebody who wants to just veg out and listen to music, do that. Do those things that give you joy and help you kind of recenter yourself.”

He recognizes the emotions from this trial are about more than one case.

“There are a lot of emotions, that is not just for this specific incident, but for a culmination of incidents that have happened really throughout the history of this country.”

Dr. Austin says whatever emotions you feel watching the trial are valid.

If you are looking for resources to help you process the emotions seen in the trial, click here.

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