TxCSJ Statement on Racial Disparities in 2020
We Must Do Better!
Texas Counselors for Social Justice (TxCSJ) is dedicated to the advocacy and promotion of social justice for all. The current events and individual and collective responses to those events show us there is much work to be done to ensure human rights and dignity for all.
COVID-19 is shining a glaring light on the significant racial disparities in healthcare, work conditions, and economic security in our country. While no one is protected in the midst of a global pandemic, those who are more privileged have a greater ability to insulate themselves and their families in order to minimize their risk. African American and socio-economically disadvantaged communities have experienced six times the number of deaths as white communities (Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2020). These communities have a higher rate of numerous chronic health conditions due to a lack of access to healthcare. Thus, contracting the virus is likely to be associated with the most negative outcomes. In addition to limited healthcare, COVID-19 resources and testing sites are less likely offered in their neighborhoods and communities. This is a reflection of generations of systemic disinvestment in communities of color. We must do better.
We are deeply saddened by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. All lost their lives at the hands of individuals who believed they were criminals because of the color of their skin. We grieve with their families and their communities. We must do better.
We call for all law enforcement agencies to develop policies, provide training, and engage in peer accountability in order to eliminate all instances of undue police force and violence. Under no circumstances should it be acceptable for an individual to kneel on the neck of another individual. Any restraint that compromises the ability to breathe should not be allowed. There is no greater symbolism for power and oppression than to kneel on someone’s neck. As a nation, we must no longer kneel on the necks of marginalized populations through acts of commission or omission that reveal bias and assert the power and privilege of one group over another. We must do better.
While we do not condone violence and destructive behavior, we acknowledge the culture that contributes to this behavior. “A riot is the language of the unheard.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967) We encourage all counselors to reflect on actions you can take in your family, your community, or your workplace to advocate for ensuring all voices are heard. Even those with whom we most disagree.
We are taught the skills of active listening and empathy as the foundation of a helping relationship. We believe it is also the foundation for healing relationships. We must do better.
TxCSJ is committed to promoting the human rights of all individuals...without exception.