A Note from NAAP’s President
Dear NAAP Community,
Within NAAP’s corporate mission stands a final mandate. We are charged with, “Implementing and maintaining policies that ensure NAAP’s commitment to promoting diversity, social justice, and social responsibility.”
NAAP will be holding virtual events in the coming weeks to address how these issues have impacted our community and our institutes. Please look for the notices to be sent out shortly and join us in the conversation, partnering toward change.
The self-quarantine and anxiety of the past several months has not daunted concerned Americans from attending the protest marches we are seeing now, but the tragedy that triggered it has been with us a long time. As psychoanalysts, we know about denial. It is the tendency to believe that, if it’s not in your face, if you do not need to worry about yourself or your children being senselessly attacked, if life is throwing other challenges at you, it is possible to walk veiled in a curtain of denial, and to psychically render the horrors we’ve recently witnessed invisible. This can happen to anyone, even staunch proponents of social justice.
Events of the past weeks have gone a long way to shatter those illusions. It is heartbreaking, devastating, and humiliating to see events like the ruthless murder of George Floyd ruthless murder in Minneapolis and to listen to those who might try to shade the truth to justify this hideous action. As Senator Corey Booker recently commented that, “For every name that we know [Black men victims of violence] there are thousands you don’t know about because they’re not on video.”
While much has been accomplished in civil rights reform in the past half century, we cannot deny today how much further needs to be done. Perhaps our response to George Floyd’s outrageous torture and death can be a turning point in a commitment to true, inclusive change.
While each of us can and do operate in many venues, communication and listening are our forte. We can step up to the problem of systemic injustice and initiate dialogues that will be uncomfortable for all involved and help participants to stick with it for change. We can open the tough conversations in our institutes and classes about racism, bigotry and their impact on society in general as well as on the individual. We can actively engage in recruiting students from diverse groups as candidates in our institutes. At NAAP we reach out to you in sadness, overwhelmed by the grief of the moment. We have all felt the double assault of the COVID 19 pandemic and the recent violence against a lone, unresisting Black man at the hands of men we trust to protect us. We know we cannot afford to sit back silently. We must work to make our world safe and transform social injustice into social justice.
We invite you. As the American Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, says in her poem dedicated to the opening of the Statue of Liberty Museum,
Be my guest. Drink tea, taste fruit and bread…
Stranger, you’re the words to a hymn I’ve only ever hummed.
Come. Let’s erase the distance between skin and skin.
In sadness and with hope,