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ABCT Statement on Racism and Discrimination
The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies is outraged by the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others at the hands of police officers and broader law enforcement, healthcare, and many other societal systems that devalue Black lives. ABCT’s mission states that we are “committed to the enhancement of health and well-being,” and our goal is to help those in need to heal. So, when we see a system designed to protect us, instead be one that kills, hurts, and disenfranchises communities of color, we are all the more enraged, troubled, and hurt.
And we are called to self-reflect, and to act.
As members of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, we use science to enhance health and well-being. The health and well-being of our Black colleagues, students, patients, friends, and family are repeatedly threatened and damaged by the systemic racism in our society. We publicly voice our support for social justice organizations, like Black Lives Matter and NAACP, who are on the frontlines, mobilizing for real lasting change in Black and Brown communities. We call on our members to use our science to help end racial injustice and police brutality, especially our members who typically shy away from this work. As therapists and researchers, we have tools and expertise that can help us work toward justice. As therapists, for example, we must create space for our patients to discuss racial discrimination if they choose, listening openly and checking our biases; as researchers, for example, we must work harder in authentic methodological design and recruitment to ensure sample diversity and inclusivity, and to improve our ability to assess racial differences.
As therapists and researchers, we must also acknowledge our privilege and role within the broader system of generating and disseminating knowledge. We must commit to reflecting and exploring what opportunities we have had (and maybe looked past), and to use our privilege to address injustices and reflect on how we can actively seek opportunities. We believe the tools and expertise we possess grant us a privilege that must be acknowledged and acted upon.
In 2019, ABCT launched a Task Force to Promote Equity, Inclusion, and Access. The Task Force surveyed members in March and April of this year, to assess members’ opinions on how ABCT is doing with respect to equity, inclusion, and access. A detailed summary based on close to 400 responses was recently shared with the ABCT Board of Directors. Next, the Task Force will draft a full report, including recommendations for how ABCT can better support diversity and inclusion across everything that we do, especially supporting our members and stakeholders from the Black community. We also look forward to learning what resources (e.g., readings, educational opportunities, expert conversations) our members might find helpful for addressing racism and discrimination in their work, and to making these resources available. ABCT is committed to improving and growing, with respect to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
To our Black members: We see you. We hear you. We are committed to listening to you and standing with you.
ABCT Board of Directors
Martin M. Antony, President
Bruce F. Chorpita, Immediate Past President
David F. Tolin, President-Elect
Sandra Pimentel, Secretary-Treasurer
Risa Weisberg, Representative-at-Large
Shireen Rizvi, Representative-at-Large
Amie E. Grills, Representative-at-Large
The Board of Directors would like to acknowledge and publicly thank Jamilah R. George and Destiny M.B. Printz, co-leaders of the ABCT Black Americans in Research and Therapy Special Interest Group, Ryan DeLapp, member of the ABCT Task Force to Promote Equity, Access, and Inclusion, Shari Steinman, Social Networking Media Committee Chair, and David Teisler, Director of Communications for their contributions and assistance in helping put together this statement.