Black Lives Matter &
Racial Justice Statement
Oppression is traumatic. Police brutality, police extrajudicial killings and the disproportionate criminalization of Black and Brown people especially those with mental health conditions and those raised in poverty are oppressive and traumatic. The U.S.'s largest public mental health and housing programs are prisons. These are not signs of a free and just society. White Supremacy was central to the founding, expansion, and current maintenance of our country. White Supremacy and capitalism are directly related to the plurality of the harm done to people including not limited to: colonialism, prison, medical and educational industrial complexes; racism, individualism, racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, colorism, wage theft, sexual violence, and too many forms of harm to list. These all have impact of our communities, families and ourselves including and not limited to our mental health.
As a therapist I utilize Afro-centric, feminist and empowerment frameworks and systems theory. These support me seeing interconnected and interdependent natures of cultures, society, institutions, communities, and individuals. An example being the defunding of schools, overpolicing of communities of color and immigrant communities directly contributing to the psychological harm done to an undocumented Black asylum-seeking child with disabilities attempting to succeed at school while managing the fear at minimum of ICE, racist testing, bullying and disproportionately poverty and hunger. All this young student's stress described is directly connected back to White Supremacy. We must defund the police and prisons and re-invest in our communities especially communities of color and multiple marginalizations. These harms have been around for hundreds of years; to correct them will take time and efforts of many. Below I have listed how professionally and personally I am attempting to address internalized and external systems of oppression focusing on racial justice.
My core values include justice, collaboration, and compassion. Justice for me includes is not limited to racial, disability, healing, reproductive, transformative and the like. Many of these frameworks are collaborative and show up with humanity and are non-punitive. I honor these by a commitment to liberation work. In this statement I am centering my pro-Black and support of Black Liberation work.
Professionally, I continue to center those impacted by trauma and oppression in my work. Even though oppression is traumatic, I explicitly state this to acknowledge this is not always the framework providers, especially white providers honor. This includes but is not limited to QTPoC, formerly incarcerated, and disabled folx, with the understanding that the BIPOC identity is interconnected with every other identity an individual may have. This includes is not limited to providing culturally affirming collaborative care. Although the process is highly varied and unique to each individual, it can include but is not limited to the following:
Offering a continual percentage of sliding scale fees and a pro bono/free slot reserved for survivors of human trafficking, forced or coerced labor, including sex work. Commonly this percentage is between 25-45%. Every full fee client allows me to allocate space and resources for sliding scale and pro-bono work.
Providing training to nonprofits and community-based care organizations who disproprately serve BIPOC communities, most common topics include Trauma Informed Care for Human Trafficking Survivors and LGBTQ+ Affirming Care. These trainings highlight the compound consequences that BIPOC folx navigate, (ie- legal systems, ICE, HIV+ stigma, increased violence).
Attending a weekly anti-oppression consultation group hosted by Resonant Relationships's Jeni Wahlig, PhD, LMFT. This amazingly brave space recently capped at 10 white presenting therapists.
Prioritizing continuing education, trainings, and readings which are presented by and centering BIPOC folx.
Acknowledging the entirety of the health field, including mental health, has been and continues to be weaponized against disempowered communities, especially Black and Indigenous Communities. I continue to advocate acknowledgement, addressing, and atonement for these harms in the social work and mental health field.
Attending training which do not provide continuing education. By not requiring a mental health provider to lead the training, this provides a space to unlearn the idea that many of us have bought into surrounding the qualifications of the the medical industrial complex, which has systemically and systematically harmed BIPOC folx repeatedly and continues to harm now. Some of my favorite presentations have been facilitated by: Fireweed Collective formerly known as Icarus Project, Crip Camp, BIPOC sex worker lead trainings like BAWS and SWOP, trainings from trafficking survivors like from National Survivor Network, and GEMS of NYC.
Continuing to be open to accountability and ongoing feedback. This requires managing my own white fragility and not focusing on my own reactions in the session. Welcoming the discomfort and decolonization of myself and my practice by processing my reactions outside of this space are vital to my ongoing growth as a practitioner.
As a stakeholder, consumer, and privileged party in this field, I see it as an ethical imperative to utilize my privilege and access to raise up the voices and expressed interests of marginalized folx. Outside of my work in the mental health field, I am an active member of human rights organizations and movements. Currently, I am an active member of Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), an organization which organizes white people to dismantle white supremacy. I am on the Board of Directors of Justice At Last, a pro bono legal clinic for survivors of human trafficking, an estimated 87% of whom are BIPOC and vast plurality of them hold multiple marginalizations most commonly being women and/or recently arrived. Additionally, I attend "Crip Camp" hosted by Disability Justice Cultural Club for and by disabled folx, centering QTPOC [Queer and Trans People of Color]. I donate money and time to pro-Black, pro-immigrant, pro-sex worker, pro-femme, pro-queer, pro-trans pro-body diversity (disabilities, crip, size) honoring communities and organizations.
This statement is addressing the moment. I am committed to the unlearning of white supremacy and colonialist mindset including all the connected oppressions as a lifelong effort.