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SEPI's Response to Racial Injustice & Institutionalized Oppression

In this season of devastating loss and grief due to the coronavirus pandemic, we now find ourselves confronting the racism and violence that has characterized American history since its inception. We are devastated and anguished by the violent and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Laquan McDonald, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Botham Jean, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and so many more Black men, women, and children.

As an organization, SEPI condemns police brutality, violence, and the silencing of the voices of people of color. Moreover, we acknowledge the deeply entrenched, systemic factors that reify oppression – the militarization of the police, structural inequalities in housing, healthcare, civil rights, as well as economic and educational opportunities. The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has catalyzed a long overdue movement. We are encouraged by protesters – those who have kneeled in the streets, fists raised for justice, those who have marched and wept on behalf of the many who have lost their lives to police brutality. We are hopeful about what is possible, spurred on by activists who are standing up for radical and sustained change in the systems of oppression.

The issues of racial injustice and institutionalized oppression are not unique to the United States. As we consider our international membership, we remember the many atrocities that have been wrought across the globe in the name of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and hatred. We are hopeful that the migration of protests and activism from the U.S. to other countries, who face their own systems of injustice, will spur on radical and restorative change around the globe. We acknowledge that we are, in the words of American Psychological Association President Sandra L. Schullman, in a “racism pandemic.” As an organization, SEPI condemns these actions, institutions, and policies that seek to destroy the humanity and dignity of our fellow citizens.

SEPI’s mission rests on the importance of dialogue and learning from one another. Our mission focuses on culture as a fundamental context within which people grow and flourish. We have a responsibility, as individuals and as an organization, to examine and challenge ourselves. We need to deepen our commitment to actively opposing the forces of racism and oppression; we need to commit to the hard work of being antiracist. This means that we are committed to:

  • Listening to the voices of the oppressed and marginalized and take appropriate action as therapists, researchers, and teachers.
  • Reckoning with our own implicit biases and challenging biased attitudes when we notice them in others.
  • Creating space for clinical perspectives and scholarship that privilege the perspectives of people of color.
  • Educating ourselves about how systemic and personal racism have impacted us and the lives of others.
  • Condemning racism in act, word, and deed.
  • Affirming that Black Lives Matter.

Although SEPI has always and will continue to value open dialogue, self-examination, and a spirit that includes and amplifies the voices of the oppressed, we still have work to do. Being a psychotherapist means a lifetime of learning; the same is true for the work of being an antiracist. We hope that you will join us as we do this work.


In Solidarity,

Shigeru Iwakabe, President

Catherine F. Eubanks, Past President

Kenneth Critchfield, Treasurer

Marvin R. Goldfried, Past President

Barbara Ingram, President-Elect Designate

Kristin Osborn, Secretary

Alberta Pos, President-Elect

Paul Wachtel, Past President

Tracy A. Prout, Communications and Publications Committee


Resources

Here are some resources that we recommend for joining us in the pursuit of becoming antiracist.– includes a weeklong personal and professional development initiative for academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action (June 19 – 25).

Books

Podcasts

Film

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Nadal, K. L. (2017). “Let’s get in formation”: On becoming a psychologist–activist in the 21st century. American Psychologist, 72(9), 935–946. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000212

  • Sue, D. W., Alsaidi, S., Awad, M. N., Glaeser, E., Calle, C. Z., & Mendez, N. (2019). Disarming racial microaggressions: Microintervention strategies for targets, White allies, and bystanders.  American Psychologist, 74(1), 128-142. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000296

Web Resources

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