Pastor: Social pain can have lasting effect

  • Sharon Apopa

Scores gathered at the Evening Light Pentecostal Church on Parsons Road last night for a forum exploring the impact of pain on the island’s communities.

The event, which was called The Impact of Pain on Social Constructs, began with a reception offering soup and rolls before keynote speaker Pastor Hollis Neal addressed an audience of more than 100 men, women and children.

Pastor Neal, the former pastor at West Pembroke Pentecostal Assembly, spoke of his experiences in Baltimore as a pastor who had eulogised at the funerals of 11 murder victims as well as assistant principal of the city’s largest public school.

“We need to really understand the architectural framework of the judicial system that incarcerates so many African-American males,” he said.

Pastor Neal went on to talk about the difference between physical pain and social pain, saying “We can relive the hurt of social pain, but not physical.”

He added: “With social hurt we relive the pain for a long, long time. Many people we sit next to and work with, they suffer from this type of social pain and it impacts their ability to function to maximum levels.

“But we don’t notice it because they are not scarred physically. Social pain can have a lasting, recurring effect on people.”

Last night’s event was organised by Sharon Apopa to examine how pain — “caused by unresolved intergenerational trauma, gang violence, constant change, grief and loss, frustration and disenfranchisement” — manifests in the community.

The event follows a recent spate of violence, including the fatal stabbing of Raymond Butterfield earlier this month. It also comes on the heels of a recent public event and training for social services workers on the treatment of racial trauma by visiting clinician Kenneth Hardy in February.