Full Text and Statement of an open letter to PFCS staff, clients, partners, funders, and community stakeholders.
The killing of George Floyd is the latest egregious act of police brutality that is but one facet of the widespread and systemic racism perpetuated in American society. Racism is wielded subtly or overtly to discriminate against and oppress those with less agency in society, such as those who are not white, not straight, or not fully-abled. PFCS stands with the Black Lives Matter movement to demand change. I’d like to credit Dr. Jensen Shirley, an African-American PFCS therapist, with crafting much of the following statement. Certainly these ideas are not ours alone but represent many in the mental health community:
PFCS stands against the unfair treatment of people of marginalized communities and the systems that perpetuate that treatment. We join with voices across the country and world in expressing our outrage over the numerous acts of racial violence that have happened recently in the United States, including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among far too many others.
There is a great need for change in our society and our world. To start with ourselves and our workplace, we are committing to the creation of a more nurturing and welcoming environment for all employees, trainees, and clients. We have a head start with passionate, caring, and skilled employees, but as recent events, and recent education on more covert forms of racism, remind us, there is much more work to be done.
We strive to improve equity in the mental health field. We are seeking ways to amplify the voices of our therapists of color so, together, we can be the change we wish to see in the world. Silence is deafening, but voices of unity are loud and clear. PFCS abhors racism and racial injustice in all forms and we will work to root it out, repudiate it, and abolish it. Through the practice of healing and supporting people from all walks of life, PFCS seeks diversity, inclusion, and social justice for all.
System reform begins with individuals. I openly recognize the privilege I’m hold as a straight white woman, particularly one at the helm of a diverse nonprofit organization. I am better educating myself and listening more, and I am committed to leading the agency through uncomfortable growing pains as we confront the more insidious forms of injustice found within our organization and in the field of mental health. We are hearing staff of color and will take active steps to respond with compassion, humility, and action. We stand with the BIPOC community – Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – as well as those who identify as LGBTQ.
I welcome your feedback on how PFCS can best support North County residents equitably; please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org any time. We are listening.
Take care, stay safe, and be well.
Lisa Turner, LCSW
And if you’re interested in resources, we know that change begins with education. There are so many excellent resources for education and inspiration out there; here is just a sampling:
- On talking about race from the National Museum of African American History & Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race
- On learning more about the criminalization of Blackness: https://www.radicalhistoryreview.org/abusablepast/reading-towards-abolition-a-reading-list-on-policing-rebellion-and-the-criminalization-of-blackness/?fbclid=IwAR2uIRH37EyEILfH4VsxTytcSsxOPOu29wQ9JU-StnsJkXthgF8_mAHg1qA
- On how racist systems and stereotypes affects mental health and self-esteem early in life, in an excellent article from licensed clinical social worker Kayte Thomas at Simple Wellness Wednesdays: Simple Wellness Wednesdays
- On systemic discrimination against the Latinx population from DoSomething.org: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-discrimination-and-poverty-latino-community
- On concrete and clear steps to becoming an anti-racist: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1H-Vxs6jEUByXylMS2BjGH1kQ7mEuZnHpPSs1Bpaqmw0/mobilebasic#heading=h.21huasaxigbz. (I apologize that I don’t know who to credit as the creator; it was forwarded but is too rich to overlook.)
- Reducing Systemic Racism Resources – focus on racism and the mental health impact and information for those looking for resources or information to reduce racism in their family, organization or business: https://drive.google.com/file/d/16esip-KlATkfWx113vX514siAtuOjTog/view
- Resources for learning Behavior Analysis and Reducing Systemic Racism, by ABA Content Creators For Social Change: https://drive.google.com/file/d/16esip-KlATkfWx113vX514siAtuOjTog/view
- On thoughts about a code of ethics for anti-racist white allies: https://medium.com/@timjwise/code-of-ethics-for-white-anti-racists-103914639dd7