Is he safe? Fears black women have for their men and children

"These are not conversations that you should be having with your children who are 12."

42-year-old Danielle Pattillo is a divorced African-American woman who lives in the Bronx, New York with her two young sons.

Like many black women, she said she educated her children, who are 14 and 22 years old, about racism and how to interact with police officers - something she said is known in the black community as "the talk."

"Make sure you have your school I.D. on you. Make sure when you are speaking to an officer that you speak slowly, you don't give attitude or what they would consider sass. And because you're a minor, your very next words should be, 'I would like to call my mom because I am a minor.'"

The situation creates a lifelong undercurrent of fear when it comes to raising her children, Patillo said.

"Until he comes home, it's just this constant off and on thought of 'Is he OK?' mixed with prayer, mixed with me texting him… I really have more fears for my 22-year-old because he's really out and about. And he drives. And I'm always fearful if he's gonna get pulled over, what that interaction is going to be like."

According to a 2019 study by the National Academy of Sciences, one in every 1,000 black men in the U.S. will be killed by a police officer, with black men 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men.

"There's no solution for me personally, because I know that that situation or the possibility of that situation is always there."

And feelings of unease felt by black women extends beyond the safety of their children.

"I fear for my brothers, my uncles, more than I fear for my children right now. My brothers have had police interactions that were not favorable for nothing more than three men together…This is a problem."

The situation can create chronic stress for black women, which research has shown can lead to heart disease, obesity, anxiety and depression.

In 2016, a study by the CDC found that black women have a life expectancy that is three years shorter than that of white women.

And while she can advise her sons, Pattillo admitted she sometimes feels unprepared about how to handle the anger and frustration felt by the adult black men in her life.

"Black women have been tasked with having to be trauma surgeons for situations that we are not trained for. And we're gonna just reach that limit where, for lack of better terms, our men are coding, they are flatlining because we can't help them with what they need from us."

Finding a solution, she said, is everyone's responsibility.

"This is not something that only the black community can do because the black community didn't put the black community in this predicament. So we can't do it alone. We need to band together with everyone."