Kentucky Psychological Association and Kentucky Psychological Foundation
Joint Statement on AAPI Violence
We grieve with the friends and family of those killed in Atlanta earlier this week. The Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA) and The Kentucky Psychological Foundation (KPF) strongly condemn the ongoing brutal acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In the midst of a gravely concerning increase in hate crimes and Anti-Asian xenophobia during the COVID-19 pandemic, this week’s egregious violence in Atlanta serves as a stark reminder that genderism and xenophobia continue to oppress and threaten individuals, especially women, of Asian descent. We recognize this bigotry and hatred against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is not new, but rather part of a long-standing pattern of discrimination and white supremacy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans are experiencing an increase in anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, negative physical symptoms, and sleep difficulties (Lee & Waters, 2020). This appears at least partially due to an increase in experiences of racial discrimination. As psychologists, we know there is a direct relation between these experiences and potentially lasting symptoms of traumatic stress and anxiety. We also recognize the intersecting gender dynamics and strongly condemn the patriarchal idea that women are accountable for heterosexual men’s sexual behavior.
The characterization of this current episode of violence as related to the killer’s purported sexual addiction or mental illness obscures critical work needed to address structural racism and sexism as those intersect with the idea of using violence as a means to solve a problem.
As we did after the killing of George Floyd, we ask our KPA members to commit to anti-racist action. As psychologists, we must press for change and take active steps toward healing generational racial trauma. We encourage direct, honest dialogue with governmental and community stakeholders with the goal of implementing meaningful reforms in our organizations and institutions to fully support our communities.
As professionals, episodes of highly publicized racial trauma create multiple layers of additional work and emotional labor for our minoritized colleagues. We must all share in the crucial work that needs to be done. We encourage KPA members to continue to educate ourselves on racial trauma and strategies for helping to heal those impacted. KPA will support all Kentucky psychologists to advocate for solutions that will advance the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
The Kentucky Psychological Foundation, the educational arm of KPA, will continue to develop anti-racist educational programs and training available to KPA members and other members of the mental health community. We continue to offer a resource list for anyone seeking help or information (https://www.kentuckypsychologicalfoundation.org/anti-racism-resources). This effort is directly tied to the missions and values of both organizations: to build a psychologically healthy Kentucky through psychological science, social engagement, integrity, care and compassion, health and well-being in the whole population, equity and inclusiveness, human dignity and the inherent worth of all.
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