TU123 – Narratives of Fear: George Floyd, Protest, and Community Empowerment with Dr. Raphael Travis

by | Jun 22, 2020 | Current Events, In The News, & Pop Culture, Episodes, Guest Interviews, Race, racism, Therapy, Trauma | 0 comments

Show Notes

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Sandra Bland. Rayshard Brooks. Tamir Rice. Emmett Till… and so on.

The violence enacted by the criminal justice system isn’t new, so what makes this moment feel so different? Dr. Raphael Travis and Dr. Elliott Gann join co-host Ann Kelley to break down the now global protests against the murder of George Floyd. Together they explore the role of youth empowerment, coronavirus, and narrative storytelling in helping fuel the biggest social movement in decades.  This episode focuses on Dr. Travis' experience, the second episode (see link below) dives into Dr. Elliott Gann's innovate and cutting edge work as well.

This is a 2-part conversation on community empowerment and using hip hop – beat making and lyrics – as a therapeutic goal.

Find episode TU24 Beat-Making, Lyrics and Community Empowerment with Dr. Elliot Gann and Dr. Raphael Travis with right here

Who is Dr. Raphael Travis?

  • Associate Professor and MSW Program Director at Texas State University’s School of Social Work
  • Founder and Executive Director of Flow Story, PLLC
  • Specializes in youth empowerment and community development through creative arts, specifically Hip-Hop culture
  • Author of “The Healing Power of Hip Hop
  • Leads the Collaborative Research for Education, Art, and Therapeutic Engagement (CREATE) Lab which works with educators and artists to understand the therapeutic and educational benefits of music

Show Notes for this Episode….

Why now?

The energy of the youth

  • Like most social movements throughout history, this one is largely being led by youth
  • Police brutality and white supremacy systemically cut off healthy development of communities by taking mothers and fathers
  • How can anyone feel safe or like they belong if they know they are always at risk of that disruption
  • Expansion of hyper-surveillance results in the buildup of the stress response in the body
  • Youthful energy to take that inter-generational trauma and say “we’re not putting up with this anymore”
  • Even though this is led by youth, these experiences of violence is nothing new, the story is the same but the particulars are different

Narrative development

  • Social media and the expansion of counter-narratives allows for a proliferation of alternative visions of the world
  • Those serve to counter the mainstream stereotypes and understandings to force people to view events in a different light
  • Expansion of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) within schools and society develops greater empathy and capacity for self-reflection
  • Forcing white people to step out of their comfort zone, a shift in our own internal narrative, a greater opening up of communal recognition


  • Living in a state of constant fear and anxiety about going out in public is a new feeling for white people, the pandemic as an unseen threat that could take you at any time
  • Experiencing just a fraction of the fear people of color experience helps make people more receptive towards shifting their own internal narrative
  • It generated an expanded understanding of communal responsibility, a narrative shift away from an individual self-focused approached to risk towards a great communal goal

What has been surprising?

Dr. Travis was hopeful and surprised by the amount of diversity within this movement. The increased messaging that silence is complicity helps force people into that un-comfort zone which allows them to question their own fears, assumptions, and narratives. It gives people who feel like they otherwise couldn’t have engaged permission to now.

Where do we go from here?

We still need consistent pressure and energy. However, we’ve seen promising changes at the level of policy and at the level of the body. First, policy reforms have happened, and will continue to happen, and we should continue to push for them with our presence and our voice. Also, societal reforms are also happening at the level of each individual body.  Indeed, there is a narrative shift within each us as we move to be more open to connection, empathy, and understanding. We all need to continue to pay attention, listen, and grow together as a community as this develops.


Contact Information & Resources:

Find Dr. Travis here – 

E-mail: rtravis@txstate.edu or raptjr@gmail.com

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Raphael_Travis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlowstoryATX/

IG/Twitter: @raptjr @FlowStoryATX

Music Mixes: https://audiomack.com/artist/dj-hoodwin

TRIO Conference Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL1_OpyIa-Q&feature=youtu.be


Find Dr. Gann here – 


Website: https://todaysfuturesound.org/about/

or at youtube.com/todaysfuturesound

Twitter: @TFS_beats Music Mixes: https://audiomack.com/artist/dj-hoodwin TRIO Conference Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL1_OpyIa-Q&feature=youtu.be


BOOK WE ARE LOVING RIGHT NOW – get it on audible for free right here.

My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem


Other Episodes You May Enjoy –

TU120: Finding Security During Coronavirus Isolation with Dr. David Elliott

TU118: Mental Health Support During this Damn Coronavirus Pandemic


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