An open letter to our ATCB community

The senseless murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, has stirred many emotions ranging from anger to sadness, disbelief, outrage to disappointment, indignation, and so much more. Once again we grieve for the victims and their families, including, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and many, many others harmed and killed due to the color of their skin. The images across our nation show cities in turmoil and we are traumatized over and over again as we watch the news, as we hear the protesters, as we read of another life lost from harsh and dehumanizing treatment. Despite the efforts of the civil rights movement, systemic inequalities persist for the Black community. The pain of racism and oppression sucks the breath out of all that gives life. These persistent inequities are toxic to all of us and are most acute for those personally affected.

As credentialed art therapists, our beliefs are consistent with humanity and equity. We know many art therapist are working in communities and with populations impacted by significant health and mental health disparities. Our ethics state that we do not discriminate; that we advance the welfare of all clients, respect the rights of those seeking our assistance, and make reasonable efforts to provide service.

We must continue to respond to clients who are experiencing traumatic circumstances, are impacted by racism and oppression, especially People of Color who live daily with trauma. We must do our best to provide a safe space for listening, breathing, being present, and healing through the creative process. We must continue to advocate for our clients. We must also take care of ourselves so that we have the strength and fortitude to be there for our clients. Please see the links below for a few resources to add to your list.

We must each do our part to effect positive change for those who are marginalized and those who are victims of systemic injustice, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spotlighting the devastating health disparities, including the ongoing mental health crisis in the nation. It's up to each of us to continue our important work within our communities and our workplaces, be brave in speaking up for justice, and meaningfully addressing the inequalities in our society.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Let us exemplify those words through continuing dialogue, sharing of resources and ideas, and taking every opportunity to make positive change.

Respectfully yours,
ATCB Board of Directors