Breaking Down Barriers: Black families share the emotional toll, talking to children about current events

Breaking Down Barriers

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Each new video of a police shooting we see can be a traumatic incident for Black people that takes an emotional toll, building anxiety and fear.

For many Black parents, it is a reminder of how they have to guide their children through racism they may encounter in their daily lives.

A weekend afternoon with the Marentic family is just like any other, watching TV, playing games. Anthony and Belinda are both educators, and they have five children. Of the youngest three, there is one at each academic level, all active and high achieving.

Same goes for the Boone family, which includes Kasina, a Vegas native, and her husband Anthony. Even though their five children are older, quality time together is important.

With recent events, they’ve had some emotional family talks.

“We have a conversation daily about racism,” shared Anthony Marentic.

Kasina Douglas-Boone said, “When I’m out in the community, somebody who does not understand the culture of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, they might perceive it as threatening.”

From images of slavery, lynchings, to violence against unarmed Black people at the hands of fellow citizens or police in recent years, from Trayvon Martin to Tamir Rice and George Floyd.

The names. The headlines. The videos.

Dimisha Mingo, a mental health expert, realizes these experiences have lasting impressions.

“For Black people and minorities, it’s going to be even greater trauma because they are the victims of it,” Mingo explained. “It’s going to increase the fear, the anxiety around this potentially happening to you.”

“I was upset,” said Anthony Boone. Belinda lamented, “It was heart-wrenching, and you can imagine, like, what if this was my child in this situation?”

Parents want their kids to get home … alive.

“Every time our children leave the house, we tell them to be careful, be safe. We love you,” said Boone.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Marentic, who ranks in the top 10% of his class, isn’t shielded from these horrific acts.

“It was a surprise for me to see a video like that,” said Aaron.

For Kasina and Anthony’s son Logan, who has autism, he worries even more.

“It’s a sense of hopelessness,” the 19-year-old explained. “Well, imagine me, trying to already articulate myself to other people who don’t understand what I go through.”

The Marentic and Boone families have members in law enforcement, so they want their kids to be informed and still inspired to spark change in society.

Aaron believes people of all races protesting together and spreading awareness on social media is a start.

“I feel like more people need to speak out; there are people who look at it and turn the other way,” he said. “A problem doesn’t get solved by turning away.”

Everyone, white, Hispanic and Asian, must talk about racism and social injustice.

“It allows people to see how we need to band together to protect everyone,” said Mingo. She says be direct, open and honest but standing up for equality is shown in our everyday actions. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

Anthony Marentic encourages people to “get involved to make it better.”

“So that is where we instill that hope,” Mingo concluded.

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