I want to acknowledge, reflect, and celebrate this historic day. June 19th, known as Juneteenth and Emancipation Day, marked the end of slavery in the United States in 1865. Though we cannot close our doors this year in recognition of June 19th due to the financial impact of the pandemic, this is an important moment to honor Black history and reflect on how we can each promote and work for equality for all.
While it is a day that marks independence, Juneteenth also represents how equality has been delayed in our country. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in September, 1862, its effects were not fully felt until June, 1865. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that even today, we are still not at a place of equity.
Recognizing the important historical role and marking today as a day of celebration and education is one small, belated, step; this is the first time Pennsylvania has formally acknowledged June 19th. At Child Guidance, we stand in support of all people fighting against racial injustice and inequality. We will continue the important work of listening, learning, and reflecting as an organization and identifying our role in addressing the racial inequalities in our communities. I want to share some of the other actions we are committed to:
- To establish an internal committee focused on anti-racism and inclusion.
- To bring Dr. George James, Board Member, LMFT, and expert in diversity to our organization to provide training and guidance on implicit bias and racism.
- To use our platform and relationships with funders and legislators to advocate for people of color so that we are better meeting the needs of all people and are part of systemic change.
- To continue to amplify the voices and experiences of black and non-black people of color in the mental health industry.
- To commit to using our network and community to provide spaces for conversations about racism and inclusion; whether that’s through virtual meetups focused on supporting parents and children, in-person conversations with community providers, or through written pieces online.
- To develop a clinical culture that equips clinicians to address racial and power inequities in client/therapist relationships.
I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and insights on how we can create a more equitable society and be part of the necessary changes our society needs. Today, I hope you will join me in taking time to reflect, celebrate, and learn. If you’re looking for some places to start, please visit this recommended reading list.