Denzell Brown

Posted in GJI Fellowship

G+JI Undergraduate Student Fellow 2021

Denzell Brown Headshot

Denzell Brown, Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University College

My name is Denzell Brown (he/his), I am a Washington DC native and undergraduate student at Georgetown University majoring in Psychology who is devoted to the lived experiences and psychological healing of Black Women in the DC-metropolitan area.

Research Project: 2021 Brave Behind The Bullet Initiative

What is your research topic and why?

The 2021 Brave Behind the Bullet peace and conflict resolution initiative seeks to help
develop allocated psychological resources and legal advocacy support for African American Mothers whose children were homicide victims of gun violence in Washington, DC and Baltimore City. This initiative ensured that these goals are achieved by providing black mothers who lost a child to gun violence with complimentary legal advocacy support, free virtual therapy sessions offered by licensed clinicians, and privileged online access to community gun violence healing symposiums in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. This project was also was driven by the goal of investigating the emotional expressions of chronic depression, grief, and post-traumatic stress that are present within the lives of Black mothers whose children have been homicide victims of gun violence in the Washington DC- Baltimore area.

Main Research Question(s)

How do black mothers that have children who have been homicide victims of gun violence experience feelings of depression, grief, PTSD, and post-traumatic growth?

Research Methodology

This study was guided by a black feminist pedagogy which is a methodology for promoting equality and multiple visions and perspectives that parallel black womens attempts to be and become recognized as human beings and citizens rather than objects and victims.

Significant or Surprising Findings

The data results from the oral interview indicated that 7 themes emerged from B.M.C.G.V. in this study which included black mothers explaining their character traits as Loving, Committed, and Strong. Subsequently, black mothers classified their coping strategies as Active Coping (Embracing Self love, Forgiveness, and Faith in God) and Avoidant Coping (Denial, Betrayal, and Not Coping). Lastly, Black mothers policy recommendations in this study focused on themes like Demanding resources for families and Laws on gun violence prevention that give attention to the victims.

Summary of Findings or Progress:

This research project was executed through having a total of 4 black mothers who lost a child to gun violence (B.M.C.G.V.) that resided in the Baltimore-Washington area participate in a self-reported survey assessing grief, traumatic stress, and depression. Participants also completed an oral interview that focused on resilience, post-traumatic growth, and policy recommendations. Findings associated with post-traumatic stress indicated that all black mothers in this study reported it was somewhat true that they avoid things that remind them of their loved ones (n= 4, 100%) and 3 out of 4 of the mothers felt cut off or distant from other people since their loved one died (n= 3, 75%). Outcomes related to complicated grief revealed that all mothers in this study reported that they felt a great deal of loneliness since their child has died (n= 4, 100%). Moreover, 3 out 4 B.M.C.G.V. reported that memories of their child upset them in the last past 7 days (n= 3, 75%). Results aligning with post-traumatic growth displayed that all black mothers in this study reported it was mostly true that they learned they were stronger than they originally thought they were after losing a child to gun violence (n=4, 100%). Additionally, 3 out of 4 black mothers in this study stated it is mostly true that they developed a strong religious faith upon losing a child to gun violence ( n= 3, 75%). Furthermore, 3 out of 4 black mothers in this study reported that they found a stronger sense of purpose in life upon losing a child to gun violence (n = 3, 75%). Findings relating to depressive symptomatology contained a large amount of variation and did not produce any significant results.

Omolade, B. (1987). A Black feminist pedagogy. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 15(3/4), 32-39.