The Psychological Association of WNY (PAWNY) stands in solidarity with Buffalo's Black community in the aftermath of the racially motivated mass shooting on May 14, 2022. This hate crime was a deliberate act of white supremacy planned to cause the most destruction to the Black community as possible. Our compassion goes out to the loved ones of those whose lives were taken. We acknowledge that healing will be hard to achieve given the trauma of the shooting, the deliberate decision of the shooter to target the Black community, and the long-standing history of segregation and racial tensions that exist in our city. We commit to be a part of the changes that are needed to address racial violence and the mental health needs of the Black community.
We vow, as an anti-racist organization, to purposefully identify, discuss, and address issues of race and racism. Those of us who are White will work to confront our inherent privilege and our roles in the perpetuation of systemic racism. We commit to not be passive bystanders but to be allies, to engage in the work of creating relationships and bonds with ethnic and racial groups that have been underserved, marginalized, and targeted. We commit to listening to the needs of these communities as we work to provide emotional support for those impacted by the mass shooting on May 14th including offering culturally responsive mental health services to those who have lost loved ones and who were witnesses to the violence, community members experiencing vicarious trauma, and, if requested, training and safe space opportunities for community leaders and groups.
We are increasingly aware of the robust resources that exist at the grassroots level in the Black community–organizations and community organizers who work tirelessly to address the healthcare and mental healthcare inequities that communities like the East Side of Buffalo face. PAWNY is committed to discovering pathways of collaboration and support of this work and to following the lead of these organizations and leaders.
We encourage community agencies and individuals seeking additional information about and/or collaboration with PAWNY to visit our website https://www.pawny.org/anti-racism-resources.asp or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Links to community and mental health resources that we currently know of are also available on our website under the Anti-Racism Task Force/Anti-Racism Resources tab. In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to update our resources for survivors, community members, and clinicians.
The Psychological Association of Western New York (PAWNY) condemns racism and hate in all forms. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and People of Color locally and nationally who are calling for systemic change and calling out the recurrent failure of our criminal justice system to provide accountability and justice for victims of racially biased acts of violence. We stand with the individuals, families and communities that have been impacted by the trauma of racially motivated murders, racial violence, discrimination and dehumanization for centuries.
As social scientists and practitioners of psychology we are aware of the damaging mental health effects of repeated exposure to racial profiling, bias and violence. And the era of COVID-19 has issued us a profoundly painful reminder that this chronic stress is coupled with and exacerbated by persistent social and health inequities. We are determined organizationally to respond to what the American Psychological Association has called the “pandemic of racism” by assisting our members with the training and tools they will need to do so. We are also committed to finding better and more intentional ways to engage in community outreach and anti-racism efforts.
Toward this end we are planning to take or expand on the following actions:
PAWNY stands with APA and NYSPA in seeking ways to utilize the unique position we occupy as a discipline to promote equity, inclusion and access. We recognize that we have a lot of listening to do and we come to this moment with willing ears and open hearts.