OPA Statement: Black Lives Matter

The Oregon Psychological Association Board of Directors supports our community members who have endured and are protesting hundreds of years of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We want to be clear in stating as health service providers across the state, that indeed Black Lives Matter. 

Our most vulnerable communities are being disproportionately impacted by both the pandemics of racism and COVID-19. In addition to mental and physical consequences of the global Coronavirus pandemic, communities of color continue to disproportionately experience violence and loss of life. Mental trauma and physical trauma are increasing daily. Our Association is committed to learning from the painful history of our own profession when people in power did not speak up for justice, equity, and in some cases, engaged in damaging behaviors that perpetuated the colonization of Black, Indigenous, and communities of Color. We pledge today to stay grounded in the principles and values that should define our field.

The Multicultural Guidelines from the American Psychological Association clarify our profession's call to social and racial justice.

"Psychologists aspire to recognize and understand historical and contemporary experiences with power, privilege, and oppression. As such, they seek to address institutional barriers and related inequities, disproportionalities, and disparities of law enforcement, administration of criminal justice, educational, mental health, and other systems as they seek to promote justice, human rights, and access to quality and equitable mental and behavioral health services." (APA Multicultural Guidelines can be found at https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/01/multicultural-guidelines)

Regarding human rights, we are witnessing continued accounts of peaceful protestors being violently attacked and moved to undisclosed locations by armed, unidentified individuals without grounds for arrest on our streets. These acts are causing harm to our communities in Oregon. These tactics of violence and intimidation directly threaten the values of democracy including liberty, equality, and justice-they should not be tolerated or allowed.

Regarding justice, we aspire to continue to sound the alarm and stand with people who are being treated unjustly in our state. We invite our members to engage in ongoing education, self-reflection, advocacy, and action in order to use their privilege to fight against racism. As mental health professionals, we have a personal and professional responsibility to engage in this work and not become complacent-it is crucial to promoting mental health and wellness across the state of Oregon and beyond.

For our members and our allies, please review the following antiracism resources that promote justice, human rights, and quality mental healthcare. We invite you to learn more about how we individually and collectively can decolonize our institutions. We invite you to use your voices and power to take action against the violence that is taking place. We urge you to join us.

- Board of Directors, Oregon Psychological Association (OPA)

The OPA Board of Directors would like to be clear that we welcome people of all faiths and religious backgrounds irrespective of race, ethnicity, national origin, and immigration status. Additionally, we remain committed to upholding the APA Ethical Guidelines which make clear we must advocate for and protect the civil rights of others. We are steadfast in our commitment to standing with and as people; people of all races, ethnicities, immigration statuses, religions, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, ages, education levels, abilities, and sizes. You are welcome here.

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