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Black Lives Matter Statement

We, the Board of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association (SBCPA), stand united with Black voices in condemning all acts of racism, both interpersonal and systemic. We seek to uplift the value of all Black lives, including Trans Black lives, Queer Black lives, and Black persons with disabilities. We recognize that violence against Black people and the constant threats to their safety are profoundly embedded in the very infrastructure of our nation, from its nascency to today, and that SBCPA’s public stance against such harm is long overdue.

We seek to fight against the systems of White supremacy and patriarchy that are deeply internalized in all of us. We recognize that as mental health clinicians, we have the power of privilege in a treatment dynamic that can either uplift and support the healing of persons of color, or intensify the everyday wounds of microaggressions and racism. Research in our field unequivocally reveals the traumatic effects of racism on the well-being and health of Black individuals, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further unearthed preexisting health disparities impacting communities of color.

As a predominately White organization with a predominately White Board, we must be cognizant of our privilege and acknowledge our community’s complex history. With awareness that we are living and working in a community in which the first Black persons brought to this area were enslaved, we recognize the urgent need for Santa Barbara to engage honestly with these histories to create more equitable futures. It is our imperative responsibility to seek out ways to make our organization and its members more culturally responsive and affirming, and to denounce and dismantle the systems of anti-Black racism and White supremacy among us. In keeping with our stated goal of emergency response, we affirm that racism is indeed a public health emergency. As such, we the SBCPA Board, with the leadership of our Equity and Racial Justice Subcommittee, have committed to taking the follow initial steps:

  • Creating a more culturally responsive resource web page, including a list of local Black mental health practitioners as well as anti-racism resources
  • Hosting a book club and conversations about meaningful documentaries related to race and the history and experiences of Black persons of color
  • Providing trainings that are specific to implicit bias, White fragility, and how to better support Black and other clients of color
  • Re-prioritizing our budget to reflect our ongoing commitment and investment in trainings around equity and inclusion work

These steps are not an end point, nor a temporary phase to alleviate the discomfort we are all feeling. They are the start of a new chapter, in which we aim to better represent and uplift the needs and voices of the Black community, and of the many groups of people that have been marginalized and de-centered both in our society as well as within our profession. The work of healing requires an ongoing commitment to breaking down the systems of oppression in which we were trained. We, the SBCPA, invite you to join us as we commit to making anti-racism work central to our roles as mental health practitioners in this community.

Approved by SBCPA Board on 7/9/2020

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