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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 52   Number 3 Summer 2019

Statement in Support of Christchurch, New Zealand, in Condemnation of White Supremacy: Call to Action

The Council on Cultural, Ethnic and Racial Affairs (CERA), under the auspices of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) - Division 27 of the American Psychological Association, stands in solidarity with the people of Christchurch, New Zealand. We write this statement as an offer of our deepest condolences to the communities who have suffered at the hands of white supremacist terrorists and provide recommendations for SCRA members to continue to act in solidarity. 

We are committed to working toward the eradication of white supremacy in all its forms, including terrorist attacks, in the western hemisphere and globally. These attacks are crimes against all humanity. The rise in global nationalistic vitriol represent a clear and growing transnational threat and an opportunity to create a global sense of community, committed to healing, resistance and radical transformation. The actions taken against community members of Christchurch are an example of such hatred and bigotry in action (https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-mosque-killer-white-supremacy-20190315-story.html)

The hatred, bigotry, xenophobia and racism that forms the basis of white supremacist ideology cannot exist in an equitable world, and the time to take seriously the threats of white supremacy is now. We cannot wait until more innocent people lose their lives in such hate crimes. History continues to remind us that bigotry is one of the roots that perpetuates terrorist attacks, requiring an adoption of anti-racist cultural, institutional, and state sponsored identities to redefine individual and community calls to action. We are also beginning to see research on terrorist attacks seeking to understand the root causes for why and how individuals engage in such activities, which has implications for how Community Psychologists may play a role in further understanding such actions and preventing future attacks (Spaaij, 2010).  

LINK WITH SCRA MISSION AND VALUES 

As members of CERA, we stand by the existing SCRA statement, which notes that acts of terrorism, either domestically or internationally, that white supremacy has become so entrenched in the Western world, that it is woven into the fabric of our societies (http://www.scra27.org/what-we-do/policy/rapid-response-actions/condemnation-white-supremacists/). There must be a paradigm shift in how we view and negotiate white supremacy and the terror it leaves in its wake. We stand by those who are marginalized by the colonial systems that discriminate and the systemic racism that seeks to maintain the hierarchies of us and them - superiority and inferiority, sustained by hatred. 

As community psychologists, we have, “endeavored to be political activists, agents of social change … to be dissenters and transgressors in pursuit of liberation and empowerment with communities, especially those who are institutionally marginalized. Today, we reflect on this historical call to action, and we emphasize and urge our colleagues to stand for anti-racism, and to condemn white supremacy and race-based domestic [and international] terrorism in all of its implicit, subtle and systemic, blatant forms” (Fernández & Tran, 2019). These values hold absolute significance, and are tested in these moments of violence and hate. Thus, we must rise in resistance to violence in all of its manifestations and speak back to these systems of power and oppression that maintain and reproduce hegemony.

Community psychology is guided by four interconnected concepts, however one of them stands of most value and relevance to these conditions of violence rooted in white supremacy. This value is social justice, which is characterized by the following statement:

“Community psychology will become a field of research and action that makes a significant difference on issues of social change by promoting social justice. Social justice is defined as conditions that promote equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, and active citizenry. The field will explicitly state its commitment to social changes that promote social justice and greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups and will see that commitment manifest in the various aspects of the field's work.”

We believe that as an organization more attention needs to be devoted to the interrogation and disruption of racialized violence, and that must be made explicit in our discourses of social justice, liberation and transformational change. We write this statement to condemn the violence at the intersections of whiteness and xenophobia, and also to invite our fellow community psychologists to consider our role in being advocates, agitators, and practitioners of racial justice-oriented work within and beyond the US. 

CALL TO ACTION

We call upon all of us to put into practice the words of two powerful scholar activists and thinkers:

“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” - Audre Lorde

“You seek allies and, together, begin building spiritual/political communities that struggle for personal growth and social justice."  - Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Thus we must speak up against violence, white supremacy and Islamophobia. We must build liberatory and anti-racist coalitions. Below we offer some resources to engage in solidarity. 

  1. We invite you to take action, and act in solidarity with many others taking similar action: https://qz.com/1574592/people-are-supporting-mosques-after-new-zealand-shootings/
  2. If anyone wishes to sign onto a petition sending love and solidarity to the Muslim families of New Zealand, and pledge to fight white nationalism, you may take action at this site: https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/send-a-message-of-love-solidarity-to-the-muslim-families-of-christchurch
  3. For anyone looking for ways to further support the victims of the Christchurch shootings, you may be able to contact several groups that offer the power of social sharing and networks for critical and accessible resource development: See this article for details: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/16/world/asia/christchurch-shooting-charities.html 

For all those affected, we stand with you, as hate is not the answer, but love.

 

Signed,

Ann Marie Beals, CERA

Jesica S. Fernández, CERA

Tiffeny R. Jimenez, CERA

Chris Smith, CERA

Dominique Thomas, CERA

 

REFERENCES

Campaign by the Revolutionary Love Project (2019). To: Muslim families of Christchurch, Send Love & Solidarity to Muslim Families of New Zealand: Pledge to Fight White Nationalism. Retrieved From: https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/send-a-message-of-love-solidarity-to-the-muslim-families-of-christchurch  

Fernández, J. S.,  & Tran, N. (2019).  SCRA Condemns Hate and Terrorism by White Supremacists. Retrieved from the SCRA website: http://www.scra27.org/what-we-do/policy/rapid-response-actions/condemnation-white-supremacists/

Gelineau, K. & Gambrell, J. (2019, March 15). The Chicago Tribune: New Zealand mosque shooter is a white nationalist who hates immigrants, documents and video reveal. Retrieved From: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-mosque-killer-white-supremacy-20190315-story.html

Hurdle, J. (2019, March 16). The New York Times: How to Help the Victims of the Christchurch Shootings. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/16/world/asia/christchurch-shooting-charities.html

Rohrlich, J. (2019, March 15). Quartz: People of all faiths are visiting mosques in solidarity after the Christchurch shootings. Retrieved from:

https://qz.com/1574592/people-are-supporting-mosques-after-new-zealand-shootings/

Spaaij, R. (2010). The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism: An Assessment. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(9): 854-870. Retrieved from: https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/42634764/Studies_in_Conflict_and_Terrorism_2010.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1555599009&Signature=i5kBxIqKLtW50ktltWwJ%2FZYrlaY%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DThe_Enigma_of_Lone_Wolf_Terrorism_An_Ass.pdf