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SLPA Statement in Response to George Floyd’s Death and Discrimination Against Communities of Color

The St. Louis Psychological Association (SLPA) joins our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis in expressing our horror and outrage over the apparent execution of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Though it was a police officer, sworn to protect and serve, who suffocated the life from George Floyd over the course of eight agonizing minutes, we know that the real cause of death was the institutionalized, normalized, and rationalized national system of violence and oppression that has been perpetrated against communities of color for the past 400 years. We also know that systematized violence and oppression would not be possible without a code of white silence from those in the majority, whose day-to-day lives may not be directly affected by these kinds of events.

 

SLPA categorically and unequivocally calls for an end to the brazen and stunning disregard for the sanctity of human life that has been laid bare in recent days and weeks. We call for our leaders and public officials, particularly those in the criminal justice system, to take accountable, measurable, and concrete steps to confront the prejudice that has been woven into the fabric of American society, and to affirm the humanity, dignity, and basic goodness and worth of people. We call for fundamental political and social change.

 

This change will NOT come easily. Deep change will come only with pain and discomfort, much of which will need to be felt in communities of privilege, for whom access to justice is not restricted. However, we have faith that this deep change is possible, dark though the night may be at this moment. We have faith because, as psychologists, we see deep change every day in our patients and clients. We see every day that when a person is able to face what makes them fearful and uncomfortable full-on, without avoidance or hesitation, they experience a fundamental change in their relationship with the world and their inner experience. As psychologists, we also know that deep change does not result from a single breakthrough session, but from the hundreds of small and repeated acts of courage that our clients and patients take between sessions. Thus, we call for individuals in white communities who look without seeing the daily injustices that occur before their eyes, to make the small and repeated acts of courage needed for deep change.

 

To our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis: We hear you. We see you. We are proud to stand with you.

 

St. Louis Psychological Association – Executive Board

Helen Friedman, Ph.D. – President

Andrew Menatti, Ph.D. - President-Elect

Kennth Bohm, Ph.D. - Past President

Alice Vlietstra, Ph.D. – Treasurer

Michelle Hastings, Ph.D. – Secretary

Daniel Levin, Ph.D. - Ethics Chair

Michael Gottfried, Ph.D. - Listserv Administrator

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