A Letter to Our MembersA Letter to Our Members
In the wake of back-to-back mass shootings, first in Buffalo, New York, and now in Uvalde, Texas, we want to acknowledge the range of emotions we all feel, whether sadness, anger, fear, angst, or despair, numbness, or any emotion in between. While we are trained mental health providers and skilled consultants, these recent events are overwhelming, so taking a few sacred breaths to sit with and name our emotions can help us cultivate connection and human agency to enact meaningful change.
It is important also to name that both mass shootings, and the recent shooting at a Laguna Beach church, directly impacted students and communities of color, which adds another layer of vicarious racial trauma many members of these communities continuously face. Although you may not be a member of one of these communities, this violence also vicariously impacts all of us, including our students, educators, and families. Namely, our students had access to the violent video of the shooter in Buffalo, and while some watched, many were also unable to fully process what they saw and how it made them feel. However, some students have been able to put words to their feelings, while others have not felt like they have had a safe space to speak up. Now, students in our commonwealth and across the country are faced with rising anxiety over their safety when they should be celebrating the end of their school year. We know that many of you and your family members feel the same way.
Support is available to you. Reach out to your EAP. Utilize the resources provided by NASP and linked on our page. Meaningfully check in on each other. Seek out your colleagues, fellow educators, family, friends, and community groups because wrestling with the effects of these tragedies is a fruitful endeavor of seeking knowledge and truth for how we can resolve the root of these issues through communal inquiry. It will take will and courage. It will take a beloved community. It will take conjoint action.
At ASPP, we will continue to provide information and advocacy on justice, school mental health, ratios, and safety for our schools, communities, and you, as we strive to continuously evolve our practice to uplift humanity and imagine our world anew.
In solidarity and action,
Drs. Titina Brown and Amber M. Sessoms
Current President and President-Elect