American Psychological Association and President-Trio of Division 39 Release Statements on Issues of Racism and Social Justice
APA Press Release: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/06/police-partnerships
Email from Division 39 President-Trio to Membership:
Dear Division 39 members,
We wanted to write to you in light of recent events concerning the shocking killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, other recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of police, and the subsequent protests. We wish we had words to adequately express the outrage and horror that we've been feeling. Not only are the police afforded a unique role and level of power in our society, but they also receive special protections, including, at a structural level, qualified immunity. Therefore, it is essential to add our voices to those warning about the dangers of unchecked policing power and the resistance at many levels of government to oversight of that power.
As psychoanalysts, we acknowledge the ubiquity of unconscious influences in ourselves and others, including unconscious racial biases, in addition to conscious and overt biases. Because of these biases, it is incumbent upon society to have appropriate oversight of the powerful organizations, which are entrusted with the enforcement of laws across the country. The death of George Floyd is but the latest example of the risks such power can have.
Our Executive Committee has discussed issuing a Division statement about this. We highly value statements, but the institutional processes would take longer than we were comfortable with and instead agreed that the presidential trio could communicate to members more quickly, albeit still not quickly enough. Our discussion has led us to reflect upon the need to examine ourselves more critically and how we, as a Division, can create a more inclusive functioning group that does not recapitulate the systemic racism we are criticizing the police for.
The EC is discussing the value of having outside consultation to assist us in examining our processes in order to lead us to become an organization that leads in equality. We will be seeking various modes of input from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) so we ensure that we can create the foundations for a diverse governing and membership body. Toward that end, we will take a concrete step. It is admittedly small, but a beginning.
Barry will step aside from the Mission & Goals task force and appoint someone in his place to expand the diversity membership for the task force. This task force aims to help the organization clarify and carry out our mission and goals and thus addresses the most fundamental aims of SPPP. As such, we feel it is important that a member of the "old guard" willingly relinquish such a role in order to improve the perspectives considered by the task force and better represent the future of the organization.
We will detail our attempts to create a more egalitarian group as soon as we are able.
Barry Dauphin, PhD, ABPP
Dennis Debiak, PsyD
Past President SPPP
Joe Schaller, PsyD
President Elect SPPP