We stand in Solidarity with our Black students, faculty, and staff.
To our BIPOC clients and community at UMKC,
The UMKC Counseling Services staff grieves the violent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, who recently lost their lives in a relentless series of violent acts, including police brutality. We strongly condemn the racism and systemic injustices experienced by Black individuals and other communities of color, who suffer from the harmful effects of stereotyping, discrimination, hate, and intolerance.
As we navigate through the challenges of a pandemic and the fallout of police brutality, we recognize that we do not have the answers on how to perfectly proceed from here, but what we do know is that we want to commit to this cultural change in whatever form it comes.
As therapists, we are in a unique position to support this movement. We hear first-hand accounts from students at UMKC who have been profiled, discriminated against, and disparaged with racist attacks on and off campus. To know this and to not do anything about it is complacency. Thus, we commit to becoming active participants in dismantling racism and white supremacy within our communities, within academia, within our profession, and within ourselves.
We believe that being “non-racist” is not enough, and that we have an inherent responsibility as privileged mental health professionals, to advocate for structural change, to engage in anti-racist work, to practice cultural humility, to participate in our civic duty to vote, to shed our complacency, and to continually check ourselves.
Before we jump into action on a broader scale, we need to start change from the inside. We have been challenged with the hard, but necessary work of addressing our own potential to perpetuate harm when our own implicit biases go unchecked. We have engaged in necessary conversations about privilege and race, reviewed our guidelines to promote these conversations among staff, and developed a list of action items that we commit to enacting. At UMKC Counseling Services, we are committed to providing a space that is affirming and welcoming of all identities.
We commit to the following actions within ourselves:
- Require each of our clinicians at Counseling Services to expand our knowledge and understanding of multicultural issues through ongoing conversations about race and diversity issues, training sessions, readings, and other experiential learning opportunities.
- Practice and engage in cultural humility, and accept feedback from clients and coworkers about our knowledge deficiencies.
- Engage in anti-racist work through civic engagement and advocacy.
- Commit to doing this work beyond the lifespan of the racial justice movement or its presence on the news cycle.
We commit to the following actions within our office at Counseling Services:
- Make an open invitation to all students who have accessed our services to provide us with feedback for any time you felt misunderstood or mischaracterized by your therapist and you felt unable to speak up. Client Feedback
- Provide therapy groups exclusively for minorities on campus, and be a resource for community-initiated conversations.
- We are currently advocating to recruit more Black, Indigenous, and/or POC (BIPOC) therapists to join our team.
We recognize the inadequate representation of individuals of color in our field, and therefore commit to the following actions on campus:
- Work closely with campus leaders to make the Counseling and Clinical Psychology programs more accessible to underrepresented students, including financially.
- Provide an open house for urban-core high school students to inspire them to pursue a career in mental health.
- Provide training programs to different departments on supporting the mental health of BIPOC, LGBTQ, and students with disabilities.
- Reach out and collaborate with student organizations to support their anti-discrimination efforts, and amplify their voices in any capacity possible.
- Collaborate with the counseling and clinical psychology programs to enhance recruitment efforts towards hiring more BIPOC professors, and to increase recruitment and retention rates of BIPOC students.
UMKC Counseling Services
Resources for Black Individuals and Communities:
- Black Lives Matter: Toolkits
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Financial Assistance for Therapy for Black girls and women
- NPR Program Addressing Racial Trauma with a Black Psychiatrist and Black Pastor
- Grief is a Direct Impact of Racism: Eight Ways to Support Yourself
- Toolkit for Healing from Cultural Trauma – Association of Black Psychologists
- Black Emotional and Mental Health
- African American Mental Health
- Melanin and Mental Health
- Black Therapists in KC (Directory is not exhaustive)
- Black Female Therapists
Resources for Allyship and Anti-Racism Efforts:
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Talking About Race: Being Antiracist
- White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack
- White Friends Desiring to be Allies
- Become an Informed Voter
- Race Project KC – Social Justice Initiative
- ACLU of MO
- Grassroots Law Project
Social Media Accounts:
- @blairimani (Blair Amadeus Imani)
- @mspackyetti (Brittany Packnett Cunningham)
- @dr.rheedawalker (Dr. Rheeda Walker)
- @Rachel.cargle (Rachel Elizabeth Cargle)
- @Ckyourprivilege (Check Your Privilege)