PDBTI statement about the Murder of George Floyd and Our Commitment to Racial Justice

June 4, 2020

To our Portland DBT Institute Community, 

All of us at Portland DBT Institute are deeply disturbed and distraught by recent murders of Black people by police, as well as by the long history of racist intimidation, violence and murder of people of color in every state. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery follow many others. As people who have chosen to support our fellow human beings when they are in pain, we know the sorrow, frustration and trauma that violence and injustice create. 

We stand united with our community against racism, injustice, and police brutality. We decry the effects of institutional racism and police brutality in our communities. We know that people struggling with mental health have been killed when they should have been helped, and are especially vulnerable when police responses are biased and oriented towards control instead of care.  We stand with those demanding that we find better ways to create the safe community we all want. We know and respect the power of thoughtfulness, self-reflection, and compassion to facilitate healing. We hope every member of our community will strive for compassion towards others in the coming days.  

We see our community’s pain; we also see its resilience, creativity and strength. We note that thousands of people have gathered for justice; we celebrate the strength, care and vision of every peaceful protester. We know that our community can build on that strength, and that we can move forward from this moment with a conviction to increase the well-being of the most vulnerable, to ensure that no one lives in fear of being killed by anyone, least of all by law enforcement. 

We know systemic racism and the trauma of being exposed to police violence and other injustices can contribute to depression, anxiety and despair. Our staff remain committed to cultural competence, anti-racism and ending to white supremacy. We are painfully aware that not everyone who needs healthcare and support has access to it.  We recommit ourselves to bringing the best possible therapy to all our clients, to expanding our staff’s diversity and competence, and to influencing our profession, our city, our state and our country to expand healthcare access to every member of our community. Portland DBT Institute has been and will continue to be a place that welcomes people of every race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender as both patients and employees. 

Now is the time to engage and understand what is at stake for all of us with regard to the institutional racism, injustices and police killings which have led to such powerful and necessary protests. Here are several immediate actions we are taking at Portland DBT Institute. Please consider joining us in these concrete actions:

    • Advocate for Police Reform for enlightened, evidence-based police policies known to decrease police violence (see https://8cantwait.org/). In Portland, OR, only five of the eight known anti-violence policies are in effect. Concretely, Portland, OR police can: use chokeholds or strangleholds, shoot at moving vehicles, and are not required exhaust other means before shooting. Join us in writing to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov) and insist on these reforms.
  • Become educated and better allies (for those of us who are white) by reading, listening, and teaching our children. Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein compiled this rich document of resources for white people to deepen our (their) anti-racism work.  

For now, please know this: We are here, standing shoulder to shoulder with you and others in the fight for racial justice, offering support, and healing.

Yours in change, 

Portland DBT Institute

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