Black Lives Matter: Where We Stand
Ahmaud Arbery. Michael Brown. Breonna Taylor. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner, Philando Castile. The killing of George Floyd by police on May 25, 2020 has again brought to the surface the racial injustice and police violence that has been inflicted on the black community for centuries. Conversations are bringing to light the issues of white privilege and the devaluing of Black lives. Conversations that have been long overdue. This was not one isolated incident caught on camera, but among countless other cell phone recordings that were captured, and many more that were not. The killing of George Floyd and the wave of protests and reactions that followed, are not only stemming from those facts, but are embedded in the reality of their life experiences.
We wish to be clear about where Wellness Within stands. Deeply rooted in our society and systemic in nature, we strongly oppose these wrongs. But we acknowledge that opposing them is not enough. We actively support the imperative of radical and comprehensive change of all systems that create, hold, and continue injustice, prejudice, and the dehumanization of Black lives. Wellness Within stands in solidarity with and in firm support of the Black community, in demanding the reconstruction of the systems that continue to dehumanize Black lives. The continued existence of the systemic racism, is something that we all must not only acknowledge, but are compelled to take it a step further and be an active part of the change that must come in this country. It’s time to make a choice. Remain silent and complacent. Or stand together and take action.
That action includes examining racism on an individual and organizational level. We are not immune as therapists, and need to identify our own internal biases that will prevent us from becoming the Allies we strive to be.
We not only want to make the stance of Wellness Within clear, but to also hold ourselves accountable to learning, growing, and becoming part of the solution that the Black community needs and deserves.
Someone referred to this as a pandemic within a pandemic. And it must be treated as one. This means doing what we can to stop the disease from spreading to others. In consideration of this, we are developing a plan of action for us as individuals, as therapists, and as an organization. It is important to us that we truly live out our values of anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion.
We will provide details of our plan of action in separate communication. We ask that our white identified clients join us by educating yourselves on white privilege, and to identify and challenge the inherent racism that exists in all of us. We are asking for you to use your voice, power and privilege to start conversations with your family and friends and to speak out against racism and injustice when it occurs.
To our Clients of Color. We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. We acknowledge that we cannot understand your experiences. But we acknowledge that those experiences exist, and strive to understand as much as we can. We are dedicated to challenging ourselves and others, doing the necessary internal work, and putting our words into action to stand with you on this journey for change.
Wellness Within stands in support of Black Lives Matter. White lives have always mattered. Those of us born white have been privileged in ways that only we have known. It is time for honest reflection and conversations about this. Acknowledge and reflect on why the concept of white privilege makes some of us that have it, defensive or angry. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge, or what we don’t understand. Seek to understand, and commit to using your reflection, your conversations, and that understanding to actively take steps for change. We believe that it is our responsibility to do all that we can to dismantle the dynamic, and to be accountable for substantial and sustained change. We are hopeful that others will join us.