A JOINT STATEMENT FROM:
We first want to acknowledge the distress currently being experienced with the compounded stressors of systemic oppression, racism, and navigation of the ongoing pandemic in the United States. We emphatically state Black Lives Matter and stand with movements that promote equity and human rights. We are mourning and outraged over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless other murders past and present not captured on video or highlighted in the media.
Social justice within an intersectional lens is a core value of our profession and endemic to the missions of our organizations. As counselors, we are not silent about oppression in society. We hold space to listen and validate the pain of our clients and acknowledge we will never truly understand the lived experience of others. Our role is to help people navigate injustice and powerlessness, so they find power and agency within themselves, families, and communities. We do this while exploring our own power and privilege, recognizing that change starts with self and there is always room to grow.
We also know as counselors that the systems in our country are designed in favor of those who are white, male, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, and wealthy, and use our voices to help dismantle these systems that stem from white colonization and white supremacy. Counselors are called to help those who want change. We do not discriminate against who we help and offer our services to those in need. We advocate alongside those experiencing injustice and violence as we deconstruct our role in holding up systemic oppression.
As we are called to action to interrupt, confront and dismantle systems of oppression, we also know that we are being called to look within - as individuals, as professionals, as community members, and as leaders of this organization. It is long overdue that we acknowledge mental health fields, both in general and also specifically in Idaho, are historically white organizations with predominantly white membership, teaching and testing over theories and interventions developed almost exclusively from a eurocentric viewpoint and infused with whitewashed history.As practitioners, our work is deeply rooted in fields of study and practice within a larger culture that has profited off of and exploited Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s bodies, identities and lives.
As organizations with platforms and leadership in positions of power, we believe we have an ethical obligation to be vocal about injustice in our country and model behavior we hope you embrace as counselors-and-leaders-in-training, counselors in communities and schools, counselor educators, and supervisors. We stand against excessive use of force, police brutality, and inequitable treatment of people with minority identities. We believe as mental health clinicians that rigidity, threats, and exercises in power will only lead to more violence and oppression. We value diverse voices and know systemic racism needs systemic change. We stand with those who protest the status quo so that, together, we can bring about real and lasting change.
We encourage you to explore the following resources and ask you, if your energy and time allow, to please share your resources with us to share within our community.
We hope as a community we can work together to engage in actions and dialogue that create a safer and more equitable country and profession. Please reach out to your respective organization(s) to let us know the actions you’re taking, to ask us about ours, or to brainstorm possible actions together so that, collectively, we can commit to healing and thriving together in a fully equitable world. Thank you.
Idaho Association of LGBT Issues in Counseling
Idaho Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association
Idaho Association of Counselor Education and Supervision
ICA Human Rights Committee