We hope you are finding ways to care for yourself and your communities during these challenging times in our world. We are filled with grief and mourning for the lives lost to racism and racial violence and are trying to heed the call to grow into deeper awareness, change, and action. We are inspired by and stand in solidarity with the courageous people who are raising their collective voices to assert that Black lives matter and calling us to build a better future.
As trauma therapists, we acknowledge the trauma that racism inflicts on people and communities of color. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and others, along with the story of Amy Cooper’s attempt to frame Christian Cooper, have shined a light on systemic racism.
Systemic racism has been an ever-present evil in our society, there has been an ongoing, centuries-long pattern of violence involving police brutality, murder, false accusations, and criminalization of Black people. The events over the past few weeks have put a spotlight on what communities of color have been experiencing for generations. We believe that racism creates, sustains, and exacerbates trauma. This trauma includes the microaggressions and attacks that people of color experience on a regular basis. It also includes intergenerational trauma and historical trauma.
Racism is a public health crisis. Not only does it cause ongoing racial trauma, but it is a driving force in other health disparities and severely restricts access to competent and affordable health care, including therapy. EMDR therapy may have the potential to help heal trauma—but individual therapy does not treat institutionalized racism.
Privilege is invisible and only seen when looked for and analyzed. In order to understand our own privilege, we must listen to what others around us are saying and hear what it is like to live in their experience. Our staff are seeking to listen and learn.
We hope for healing and justice for our communities of color, and our country as a whole. We know that we first have to sit in this pain in order to fully realize the extent of this crisis. We need to listen, seek understanding of our missteps, and make amends. Only then can we move forward, welcoming the paradigm shifts and changes that need to occur to move in the direction of equality, peace, and justice.
We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and with the important protests throughout our country and the world. We believe dissent and free speech are an invaluable part of our society, and without the people risking their health and safety to lift up this important message, nothing would change for the better.
If you are looking for further resources and reading:
Resources for Therapists and Self Care:
Article from Vice on self care.
Resources for Listening, Learning, Donation, Further Reading and more:
The Obama Organization: Anguish and Action
This article explains why teaching children empathy is important for learning to change your mind.
This article provides a list of books to help explain racism and protest to children.
Elephant Circle is an organization focused on birth justice.