Council for Relationships’ Response to Mass Shootings in Buffalo, NY, Irvine, CA, and Uvalde, TX
May 26, 2022 | Grief feels very heavy at this moment in our country’s history. In the aftermath of a horrificracially motivated mass shooting incident in Buffalo, NY on May 14, 2022, we are reminded of the fact that to be a person of color in America means you are the target of shooters heavily armed with white supremacy and guns; waiting for these heinous attacks to end but having no end in sight. In the wake of another hate-crime shooting at a Taiwanese Church in Irvine, CA on May 15, 2022, we are reminded that minority communities continue to live with the mental health impacts of chronic trauma, loss of safety, and anxiety. The news of yet another mass shooting targeting elementary school children and their teachers in Uvalde, TX on May 24, 2022, leaves communities and parents holding their children closer, and again doubting if they can safely send their children to school. We are confronted with the vulnerable and marginalized populations among us, the unending pain they experience, and the lack of action by those in leadership.
Council for Relationships honors the memory of the victims; we grieve with the families, and we stand with the communities echoing the message: enough is enough. We join millions of Americans across this country in calling for strong measures to better protect our communities from the growing epidemic of gun violence. As a nation we grieve, while at the same time feeling the urge to protect the marginalized and vulnerable and prevent these atrocities from continuing. We see your pain, we are here to support you in your grief, and we stand with you for change. You are not alone.
As we look to the future, we are encouraged by this excerpt from The Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
Council for Relationships’ Statement on Guilty Verdict in George Floyd’s Death
April 21, 2021 | We at Council for Relationships are pleased that the verdict announced yesterday represents some accountability for George Floyd’s murder last May. Accountability is an important part of the healing process. While we feel relieved by this verdict, we mourn the loss of his life and feel sadness for his family and community. We are frustrated that it took so long and so much for accountability to come, and that Makia Bryant, a Black teenage girl, was killed by police just prior to the announcement of the verdict. We are deeply concerned about how these traumas and retraumatizations are impacting Black community members, People of Color, and our society as a whole. We imagine that many in our community may be experiencing similarly complex feelings. As this guilty verdict provides hope, a crucial element for enacting change, these other feelings remind us that we must continue to strive to do better. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done when in the killing of so many Black Americans there has been no accountability.
As one of our colleagues said just prior to the judge’s reading:
No matter the verdict, there’s going to be a lot of powerful emotion. I’ve heard from too many traumatized people that seeing the video repeatedly is triggering. There are a lot of people who know exactly what it feels like to lose consciousness to a choke hold, or have lost loved ones to violence and hate that they were helpless to save. I encourage my colleagues to help their students understand the gravity, the history, and the multiple layers that they and their clients are attempting to navigate in a triggering time. I encourage my fellow clinicians to create space and lean into these conversations when they weigh on our clients’ hearts.
We are committed to continuing our personal and organizational work on racial justice and racial equity, as there is so much more to be done.
Council for Relationships Grieves the Lives Lost in Georgia on March 16, 2021
March 18, 2021 | Council for Relationships expresses our sorrow, anger, and disgust regarding the mass murder that took place in Georgia. Eight people died, six of whom were of Asian descent and seven of whom were women. This serves as yet another example of the increasing instances of acts of hate against people of Asian descent in America. As Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen so concisely stated, the shooting appears to be at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny, and xenophobia.” We stand in allyship with Asians and Asian Americans and particularly recognize the additional layer that gender plays in oppression.
Council for Relationships Mourns the Death of Walter Wallace, Jr., a Member of Our Community
October 28, 2020 | Building on our statement of June 8th, we want to share that we are deeply saddened by the shooting and killing of Walter Wallace, Jr., a Black man who was said to be experiencing a mental health emergency, this past Monday evening in West Philadelphia. Council for Relationships’ main office has been in West Philadelphia for many decades and we mourn with Mr. Wallace’s family, and our community, his loss.
As an organization providing counseling and psychiatry for almost 90 years, we fully support efforts to involve mental health care providers in responding to emergencies. Whether in the dispatch room or on-site in response to a call, mental health care providers can help de-escalate critical situations so that citizens in crisis can receive the care they need and all involved can remain safe.
As we – like so many across this nation – have realized over the past several months that we must do more to address systemic racism, Council for Relationships has begun a Racial Equity in Therapy initiative. We are also working on additional opportunities to provide care for those affected by racial trauma in our community.
We continue our belief, as we said on June 8th, that through our work to hold space for all who need our care, and our efforts to provide care in a safe and inclusive space, we stand against racism and injustice in our community, the nation, and the world.
Council for Relationships Stands for Racial Justice
June 8, 2020 | We, like you, have received many powerful messages from leaders throughout our communities and the country describing our gut-wrenching pain as our country seriously grapples with centuries of systemic racism. We are moved by these messages and we add our voice to the chorus.
We stand with the Black Community and everyone who opposes racism in seeking justice and equal treatment for people of color.
Council for Relationships was founded in 1932 upon the principle of justice and equal treatment and continues to stand for these values today, as we and our community mourn the murder of George Floyd, remember others who have died unjustly because of the color of their skin, and support efforts for racial justice nationally. Our founder, Dr. Emily Mudd, sought to level the playing field for women and we carry forward her dream of levelling the playing field for all people – particularly, at this time, people of color due to the systemic racism they have endured for centuries and which none of us should tolerate any longer.
At Council we believe that addressing mental health issues can help create a more just society – because everyone benefits from mental health care and, as a result of receiving it, can be better able to value and support other members of society. Our mission starts with the fact that we help “people from all walks of life.” As our society at large works to achieve racial justice, our therapists help our clients from throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey who run the gamut in terms of backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives:
- At 9am, a therapist might have a session with a protester who is trying to figure out how to best make a difference and help this person work through the pain of racial trauma.
- At 10am, that therapist might see a police officer (who could be a person of color) who is trying to do their job during the protests, while carrying the anxiety of their family and the desire to do the best job for the community.
- At 11am, that therapist might see someone who vehemently disagrees with the protests and any views sympathetic to the protesters and wants to focus on an issue related to personal growth, a relationship or career.
We know that change starts at home and that we must look at ourselves and within our own organization about how to be more equitable. We have undertaken that work and continue it with determination.We believe that racism and racial injustices have a negative impact on mental health and well-being and harm the nation as a whole. We seek to help anyone who is suffering from trauma related to racial injustice and want to be part of the healing process for individuals, couples, and families throughout our community. If we can help you, a loved one, or acquaintance, please reach out.
We believe that it is critical for Council to hold space for all of these clients, and seek to create greater access for many more clients, who may be seeking a safe and inclusive space. And through this work we demonstrate our belief that it is critical that we stand against racism and injustice in our community, the nation, and the world.
Dr. George James, LMFT, Chief Innovation Officer
Deb D’Arcangelo, Chief Executive Officer