Counseling Center Statement on Anti-Racism

The Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center condemns anti-Blackness, racism, and white supremacy, in every shape and form. In the wake of the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others; in the midst of a Pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in the United States; in the 400+ year history of this country in which the foundation of slavery and genocide can be traced through to today’s disparities in, among other vital areas, public health, victimization by state violence, and access to resources, we, the staff of the CC, stand in solidarity with and in support of our Black students and colleagues, as well as our Baltimore neighbors and global citizens everywhere who are rising up. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and that we cannot return to a normal that does not recognize this as basic fact. We also affirm and acknowledge our center must examine ourselves and our systems to ensure that we are doing everything we can to undo and repair, rather than replicate, the white supremacist ideologies that have constructed many of our notions of mental health and mental illness and cause so much harm.

Systemic racism and discrimination is physically, emotionally and mentally traumatizing on an individual and group level. It harms everyone, but it is explicitly killing Black communities. To our Black students, we affirm your need to grieve and to rage, to mobilize and to rest, in whatever combination and at whatever timeline is right for you. We invite and encourage you to reach out to us for support at this time and all times.

We also recognize the emotional impact of confronting the virulence and insidiousness of anti-Blackness and racism on POCI and white students who are looking to process their own racial identity development and practice of anti-racism. Please also consider us one of many resources in the difficult but necessary work of engaging with internalized bias, recognizing privilege, and aligning values of anti-racism and allyship with embodied and sustained practice.

In all of these specific invitations, please also know that we recognize that identities are multiple and intersectional and that this statement, which purposefully centers the racial traumas experienced by Black people in this moment, is not intending to minimize the validity of other traumas or other forms of oppression.

In terms of services and resources, the CC is initiating a telehealth group to process racial trauma specifically and will also be convening our Yoga as Healing group online this summer (please visit our website for more information about each group). We hope these complementary offerings will offer valuable communal spaces to all who seek them. We also sincerely seek and welcome your input on how the Counseling Center might optimally serve you in the promotion of anti-racism and well-being, the former being necessary for the latter.

With heavy, grieving, and hope-bearing hearts,

Your CC staff.