We can’t breathe! The breath and life of our collective Black body is being threatened and choked. We, the members of the New York Association of Black Psychologists (NYABPsi), are enraged by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Bettie Jones, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and numerous people of African descent who have lost their lives at the brutal hands of rogue police officers. These officers have sworn to protect the community and uphold the laws of the country, contrary to their actions. These senseless acts are painful and traumatic for us all. There have been too many hashtags with the names of murdered, unarmed men and women, most of whom are African Americans. Unfortunately, our hope that the Civil Rights Act (1964) would provide equal rights for Blacks and other people of color and put an end to blatant acts of bigotry and racism has not been fulfilled.
Systemic racism has plagued our country since its founding and it is imperative that the search for workable solutions continues. A coalition of people including not just policymakers, researchers, and other people in power, but the young people expressing their rage in violent and desperate ways, and allies and potential allies who are willing to engage in dismantling White supremacy, is needed. We need EVERYONE’s voice. We advocate expressions of our anger by way of peaceful demonstrations. Organizing and unifying all those who work in grassroots, large institutions, governmental/non-governmental organizations, and others, is necessary to create broad and lasting change. Enough is enough!! We stand, collectively, with our Black, Brown, Indigenous and other oppressed communities as we seek to eradicate racism and the wide range of policies that deepen White supremacy and deprive people of their rights and full self-determination within society. We agree that this senseless bloodshed must stop and be eradicated from our society. We need to listen to each other with empathy and compassion. We advocate expressions of our anger by way of peaceful demonstrations.
The New York Association of Black Psychologists demands accountability from our political leaders that some laws need to be ratified to bring these rogue police officers to swift justice with some degree of urgency and that these rogue officers be held accountable for their dastardly acts. These acts are depraved and demonstrate inhumane behavior towards African Americans and other communities of color.
As a result, many of us are experiencing a variety of emotions that range from anger, hurt, and pain to rage. We often struggle to manage these emotions. Certainly, we cannot and ought not put these emotions into burning stores in our neighborhoods. While some are resorting to the destruction of property, some out of desperation, we believe that is NOT a solution. We have to channel these emotions into dialogue, problem-solving and rebuilding our communities in ensuring that our children have a positive future. Drs, Anthony Smith and Pearl Barner II discuss managing emotions in an edition of Dr. Smith’s podcast Black Folks do Therapy.
There are many resources that are currently available to you. We are here to support you. We invite you to visit our website, where you will find a list of licensed psychologists that you can contact for further assistance, and many other resources. For example, if you would like to practice meditation to eradicate the stress and trauma that you have experienced, we invite you to check out Dr. Maat Lewis’s video explaining how breathwork can be used for psychological healing. We also invite you to visit The Association of Black Psychologist’s National website, which offers additional support and resources. You are not alone. The New York Association of Black Psychologists is here to assist you as we strive for equality and peace for all.