Events that have unfolded over the past few months remind us that the pernicious effects of racism are deeply rooted in this country. The Texas Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development (TexAMCD) knows that these are difficult and disturbing times for you, your families, your clients and your diverse communities. We know that at the forefront of your distress are concerns about preventable causes of death, illness and mental health. We are extremely disturbed by violent acts that cut to the core of the lives of our communities. Therefore, along with other leading professional counseling organizations we DENOUNCE incidents of racism and violence that continue to ravage our communities.
The uprisings and protests we are witnessing in this country are clear indicators that our Black brothers and sisters are frustrated and outraged. We in TexAMCD hear you. We in TexAMCD see you. We in TexAMCD stand with you in solidarity. This is not your fight alone.
TexAMCD also recognizes that we must follow the leadership of Black people in this struggle. In that spirit, TexAMCD calls on all our colleagues regardless of background to do some critical "internal" work to assess how your own engagement with these protests may be rooted in Anti-Blackness and other colonialist logics. We call on you to gauge whether you are "centering" your anguish, your pain, your sense of helplessness, your frustrations, and your expertise as you wrestle with how to best support your Black colleagues, friends, families, clients and community members. The malignant effects of racism serve as a stark reminder that we must all be hyper-vigilant of the various ways in which Anti-Blackness functions at all levels of our society regardless of location. It is when we take personal inventory that we can then be agents of change instead of agents of the status quo.
Working to secure mental health care for members of all our communities is the primary mission of TexAMCD. George Floyd and other Black men and women who remain nameless and faceless are “At the Heart of the Matter” for TexAMCD and those who support our mission. Mr. Floyd’s death comes on the heels of other recent incidents caught on camera in Atlanta, GA, New York City and other places around the country. In another 2020 incident, Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging in his hometown of Brunswick, Georgia. Christian Cooper is fortunately alive and well to speak to the Memorial Day incident in New York’s Central Park where he was accused of threatening the life of a woman while bird watching. Although the woman apologized for calling 911 to make this false claim, justice does not always follow these filmed incidents. Another senseless death involves officers entering the Louisville, Kentucky home of emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor.
The profound grief and stress triggered by these events, as well as the consequences for black lives, contribute significantly to the mental health of those communities and all communities around the nation. Each episode of violence against Black people has emotional and psychological effects on everyone in ALL communities. TexAMCD has a history of working to achieve mental health for all people in all communities regardless of race, ethnicity or culture. We are especially dedicated to assisting our most vulnerable populations. We are committed to advocating for our communities and to working to bring about change.
Therefore, we stand and link arms in solidarity with efforts to dismantle racism and discrimination in all its forms in all areas of our society, especially among vulnerable populations and those historically oppressed. Indeed, our collective membership, many of whom are at the frontlines of mental health treatment, has taken an oath to decisively and with kindness, compassion and grace act to relieve suffering related to “I can’t breathe” in order to preserve life.
May these words inspire you to action rather then words and to advocacy that results in change rather than continuing a dialogue that does not bring about change, and to invite those of us who are in the trenches to be key note speakers who address how to get things done.
May the Love for One Another Move Us to Action
Dr. Richard C. Henriksen Jr. President TexAMCD 2018-2020