Dear Div. 49 Members:
We are reaching out to you as the Board of our Division. We want to do more than make a statement. We want to make changes. As you know, for many generations, and very recently, we have witnessed horrific killings of African American/Black people that have shaken us as a community. George Floyd was killed at the hands of the police in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging in Georgia, Breonna Taylor was killed while sleeping in her apartment by police in Kentucky, and countless other acts of police and civilian brutality against Black and Brown individuals.
These abuses of privilege and power are not new and enrage us all; we have seen massive gatherings around the country and the world against racism and police brutality, brought about by a shared grief, disappointment, pain, hurt, and anger. These repeated acts of police and civilian violence against Black people, combined with the pandemic and the high unemployment rates among minoritized populations, have exposed clearly longstanding racial, economic, educational, and health injustices that have festered in every sector of our society. Nonetheless, we are hopeful that individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their race and ethnicity, are recognizing the enormous suffering experienced and endured specifically by Black and Brown individuals, as well as other minorities, in this country and globally.
In standing in solidarity with others in addressing this racism pandemic, it is critical that we, as a division, gain a deep understanding of how racism impacts all of us and how we need to work harder to confront racism and White supremacy and simultaneously promote inclusion and diversity. It is important for us to work together with our members, students, other divisions, and all of APA to take concrete actions, both personally and together, to address white privilege (and the structures that hold white supremacy in place), and to build a just community and society.
As a Board, we want to be active in creating and following through on concrete actions to bring about change. We have discussed ways to raise awareness and challenge ourselves to be more proactive in combating racism, discrimination, and social inequity. We welcome your input as well. If you have recommendations, things you would like to see more of, or things that you have found helpful in your group work, please share them with us.
These are some of the actions we commit to taking:
- Compile resources that help to address white privilege and domination, hatred, bias, power, discrimination, and microaggressions in group work.
- Raise consciousness for group therapists, particularly white therapists, to engage in anti-racist practices and hone skills to alter systems of oppression.
- Organize and provide community discussions and education to address social injustices and foster member dialogue.
- Mandate that all Division 49’s APA convention programming include issues of diversity.
- Reach out to more students and members of color to participate in the division, and apply for awards and grants.
- Increase diversity within our Board and our membership to represent our diverse community.
In addition to the list above, please regularly check our division's Google doc for the division’s updated resources and planned events. Please know that if you are hurting, suffering, confused, or enraged, you are not alone. We are committed to working with you to make things better for all of our members and especially reaching out to our members of color.