LPA Statement on Racial Injustice
Released June 3, 2020
The Louisiana Psychological Association would like to add our collective voice in support of peaceful protest against the legacy of structural and sustained racism that continues to impact the African American community and other communities of color. The horrific murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota has sparked outrage across the United States and internationally. Sadly, this tragedy does not stand alone. Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while jogging and Breonna Taylor was shot multiple times by police during a raid of her home. These tragedies happened within weeks of each other. There are tragically countless examples of this targeted violence directed towards African Americans.
We grieve with Mr. Floyd’s family, the families of Mr. Arbery and Ms. Taylor, and our nation at a time of deep civil unrest. LPA stands for justice and fair treatment of all individuals regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation.
Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “Those who accept evil without protesting against it are really cooperating with it.” Additionally, Dr. King proclaimed “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral.” It is our challenge as a nation to peacefully protest the deeply unfair treatment of African Americans in particular and communities of color more broadly as well as to support our law enforcement in developing and implementing strategies that support the fair treatment of all individuals.
As psychologists, we are well aware of the impact of stress associated with racial bias on the health outcomes of African Americans including increased levels of anxiety, depression, heart disease and diabetes. The tragic results of these continued pressures are also laid bare, with the disproportionate deaths of African Americans as compared to the majority population associated with the COVID-19 virus.
As psychologists, we also know that a new traumatic event can reawaken prior trauma for a single person, as well as for generations of family and community. The trauma then may become more complex, confusing, and overwhelming. It can leave some feeling sure they must handle their distress alone and in silence. For all of us experiencing distress during this time of collective trauma, it may be helpful to reach out for support from family and friends, spiritual leaders, and behavioral health professionals.