NEW YORK, March 24, 2021— It is with sorrow, concern and outrage that we express our condolences to Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) members, their families and communities in the wake of the March 16, 2021 mass shootings in Atlanta that took the lives of eight people, including six women of Asian descent. In light of these events, the organization wishes to make the following statement.
While it is likely that multiple factors drove the rampage carried out by the Atlanta gunman, the reality is that these violent acts shine a painful light on the overlooked Anti-Asian Racism in this country that has escalated considerably since the beginning of the pandemic, including hate crimes and targeted bigotry. These recent incidents are rooted in historical violence toward AAPI people over many decades.
Manjusha P. Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, reveals that 360 hate incidents in Los Angeles were reported to the nonprofit since its launch almost exactly one year ago, on March 19, 2020. A total of 3,800 incidents have been reported in the U.S. during the past year. Dr. Connie Wun underscores the ongoing and insidious nature of Anti-Asian Racism in this country in her recent article presciently titled, "Ignoring the History of Anti-Asian Racism is Another Form of Violence."
Sadly and dangerously, the media has played into both the hyper-sexualiztion of Asian Women and the demeaning of sex-workers: two views rooted in White supremacy. Hidden in plain sight is the systemic racism reflected in a history of devaluation and abrogation of the rights of immigrants. In fact, the first immigration law in this country was the Chinese Exclusion Act. Anti-Asian Racism is not a new form of bigotry; merely one that has once again become overtly lethal.
For well over 25 years, we at AGPA have learned from, provided outreach to, and felt great esteem for our Asian American and International colleagues. As an organization, however, we must also recognize and urge action that takes a stand against racially motivated brutality. This includes reconciling with and confronting Anti-Asian racism in our own organization as well as in the outside world. As group therapists, we have an important role to play in mitigating further injury and providing resources for healing that offset harm and prevent its reoccurrence.
In light of this recent mass violence against AAPI communities, we call upon all stakeholders, including policy makers, elected officials, law enforcement organizations, community leaders, and members of our community at large to work together to create strategies to recognize and respond to Anti-Asian Racism and to center AAPI people in conversations around equity and inclusion. We need to be cognizant of the systemic racism that fosters invisibility of victims and myths about equality.
Dr. Claire Green-Forde, Executive Director, NASW-NYC, wisely reminds us that “Divide and conquer has always been the method used to oppress.” As mental health professionals, we have the opportunity to use our voices to amplify and echo those of historically marginalized groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice in our society. When confronted with racial injustice, we must speak clearly and with courage in order to give voice to the truth, and act in solidarity with our communities of Color to not let the message dissipate after the events that sparked our awareness have left the news cycle.  
Essentially, we at AGPA need to join together in our shared humanity as people and professionals in an ongoing journey to ensure safety, justice, and dignity for all.
This statement was developed by the AGPA Community Outreach Task Force, co-chaired by Craig Haen and Suzanne Phillips, which is charged with establishing and executing community outreach programs to provide professional assistance to diverse group populations in the aftermath of traumatic events, in collaboration with the AGPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, co-chaired by M. Sophia Aguirre and Wendy Freedman, and the AGPA Racial and Ethnic Diversity Special Interest Group (SIG), co-chaired by Shemika M. Brooks, Karin Bustamante, Vinny Dehili and Marcée M. Turner.
Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA
Marsha S. Block, CAE, CFRE
Chief Executive Officer
Gary M. Burlingame, Ph.D., CGP, DFAGPA
Martha L. Gilmore, Ph.D., CGP, LFAGPA
Hank Fallon, Ph.D., CGP, FAGPA
AGPA Board of Directors
Alexis D. Abernethy, Ph.D., CGP, FAGPA
Kelsey Balaban, LCSW
Shari Y. Baron, MSN, CNS, CGP, FAGPA
Aaron E. Black, Ph.D., CGP, FAGPA
Helen Chong, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA
Michelle Collins-Greene, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA
Leonardo M. Leiderman, Psy.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA
Nubia G. Lluberes, MD, CCHP-MH, FAPA
Shunda McGahee, MD, CGP
Jeanne Pasternak, LCSW, CGP, DFAGPA
Darryl L. Pure, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA
Michele D. Ribeiro, Ed.D., CGP, FAGPA
Jana Rosenbaum, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA
Tony L. Sheppard, Psy.D., CGP, FAGPA
Ryan Matthew Spencer, LMFT, CGP
Lorraine B. Wodiska, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA
Community Outreach Task Force Co-Chairs
Craig Haen, Ph.D., RDT, LCAT, CGP, FAGPA

Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Co-Chairs
M. Sophia Aguirre, Ph.D., CGP
Wendy Freedman, Ph.D., CGP
Racial and Ethnic Diversity SIG Co-Chairs
Shemika M. Brooks, Psy.D., CGP
Karin Bustamante, Psy.D., LPC, CGP
Vincent Malik Dehili, Ph.D., CGP
Marcée M. Turner, Ph.D., CGP

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