A Call for Racial Justice & Action

Racial Justice Dialogue & Campaign - #DramatherapistsAgainstWhiteSupremacy

Brought to you by your North American Drama Therapy Association Diversity Committee

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It is with deep sadness and anger that we witness an increased mobilization of white Supremacist rallies, and it reminds us that there are over 100 white nationalist groups in Canada, and 917 hate groups operating in the United States. We are outraged and send our condolences to the people of color and anti-racist activists of diverse racial backgrounds who were injured by the mob beatings and the car that purposefully drove into a group of counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia 
on August 12th, 2017.  We send our condolences to the family and friends of civil rights activist Heather Heyer who was killed on that day. We are also thinking of our members, clients and communities for whom this resurgence of visible white nationalist violence is re-traumatizing, fear-inducing and reminiscent of the multiple racial traumas perpetrated throughout history, here in North America and also in the multiple places from which many of us have migrated, both voluntarily and through forced migration.

As community members express fear at this latest resurgence of overt anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, and anti-immigrant sentiment, religious groups in Canada sound alarms indicating a rise in hate crimes particularly towards Jews, Muslims and Black people (Statistics Canada). Similarly in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Centre has been documenting an increase in reported hate crimes since the 2016 American election.

Although the most recent visible acts of white supremacy may be emboldened by a political administration rife with racial microaggressions and policies that target the civil rights of minorities including people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, people with lower incomes, people with mental health challenges, Muslims and LGBTQ communities, we must  acknowledge that white supremacy and institutionalized racism has been endangering communities of color, Indigenous people, religious minorities, and all racialized groups since European colonialism and our early histories of colonization and slavery.  We must confront our colonial roots of racism and acknowledge racisms’ pervasive systemic nature, present throughout our political, social and economic systems.

Today, racial profiling, police brutality, discriminatory hiring and housing practices disproportional representation of people of color in correctional facilities and other forms of discrimination have led numerous non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in Canada to call for a national action plan on racism, asking the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to recognize how Canada has “failed to comply with its international and domestic human rights obligations”.  

Due to the alarming rise in ethnic violence, the United States joins Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria to become the sixth country in the last decade to receive a formal early warning from the United Nations,. This early warning is the first step in a system of measures to prevent tensions from escalating into widespread ethnic conflict.

"Now is a time when no one can afford to remain seated or silent." (Dan Rather). 

We stand with our members who experience the trauma of racism and intersectional oppressions. And we call on our community to recognize these most recent visible aspects of white supremacy as the tip of the iceberg. 

Elie Weisel, holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, reminds us:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

Janaya Khan,co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, encourages us in this mission, “When it comes to fighting against white supremacy, it’s not just what you stand for, it’s who you sit with. Conversations need to be happening in homes, at work, in schools and in churches on equity, liberation and how important it is to fight against hatred and bigotry when it shows itself.”

We call all  NADTA members to join us in acting now.

Join one or more racial justice dialogues facilitated or co-facilitated by  drama therapists, creative arts therapists or psychotherapists: Adam Reynolds, Adam Stevens, Alexis Powell, Azizi Marshall, Britton Williams, Carlos Rodriguez, Charlotte Steuter-Martin, Christina Opolko, Christine Mayor, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Idalid Diaz, Jessica Bleuer, Kamran Afary, Katie Nunez, Mimi Savage, Mira Rozenberg, Lizzie McAdam, Marika Heinrichs, Nada Khashaba, Yehudit Silverman and Charisse Brown and Nisha Sajnani.

Stay tuned for dialogue dates and descriptions.

And because ending racism will not be solved through dialogue alone, please join the Drama Therapists Against White Supremacy Campaign.

Choose to commit to actions that fight racism and post.

#Dramatherapistsagainstwhitesupremacy on your social media.

T-shirts and buttons will be available at the Drama Therapy Fund online store.  More details about this campaign coming soon!  

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