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RIPA Statement on Racism and Police Brutality

The Board of the Rhode Island Psychological Association joins our members in mourning the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other people from the Black/African American community who have lost their lives to discrimination, racial violence, and police brutality. As psychologists, we are committed to justice, equity, and recognizing the dignity and worth of all people, and we value diversity and inclusion in our organization and in our society as a whole. 

We recognize the impact that racial trauma, from microaggressions and inequities in our educational, health, and criminal justice system to vicarious and direct racial violence, has on the health and well-being of Black communities, including members of our own professional community, our students, and our patients. As we see the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and the horrifying murders of Black people unfolding over the past few weeks, we witness the stress and pain experienced by our Black colleagues and the populations we serve and know that our empathy is not enough.

We are angered by the lack of significant change that has occurred despite decades of scholarship, protest, and political efforts aimed at addressing discrimination and racism in our state and in our nation.  As individuals and as an association, we cannot be silent and we commit to stepping up our actions, as psychologists and as citizens, to support those who are hurting, and to recognize our own power and privilege, and to use it to advocate for change.  

We join APA in standing against racism and hate in all its forms, and support the efforts of researchers, law enforcement, clinicians, teachers and policymakers to eliminate hate crimes and police brutality.  We echo our colleagues in the PA Psychological Association, who have pointed out that “as psychologists committed to evidence-based practice and advocacy, we can contribute by providing clinical services to those affected, as well as advocating for the use of psychological science to inform local, state, and national policies, e.g.,: 

  • The impact of stereotypes and implicit bases on decision making and behavior

  • The economic, educational, and physical and mental health disparities linked to racism

  • Individual and collective experiences of trauma in diverse populations

  • Evidence-based strategies for the treatment of trauma and chronic stress

  • The use of psychological science to inform law enforcement training, community policing and other initiatives to enhance law enforcement-community relationships”

As an organization, we will continue to partner with organizations and coalitions in the state that are fighting for equity and use our profession to help effect changes in policy. We will continue to have conversations about what we can do as an organization to further speak up and fight again racism and discrimination of all kinds, to support our members who experience it, and to provide more opportunities through CE events, committee work, and member events for education, connection, and advocacy around issues of racial justice.

ACTIONS we can take:


  • Educate yourself so your clients/patients are not left in the position to educate you.

  • Inquire with clients/patients about the impact of racism rather than waiting for them to bring it up.

  • Develop your vocabulary so that we as a profession can have meaningful and sophisticated conversations about race with our clients/patients. 

  • Reflect on your own history and biases as they relate to privilege and race. 

  • Attend trainings on privilege and race.

  • Have conversations with your colleagues about how privilege and race impact your clinical practice.

  • Make space and time in supervision for conversations surrounding race and implicit bias. 

  • If you are treating younger clients/patients, review literature on age-appropriate dialogue you can have about race.


  • Integrate information about the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as other social justice liberation movements, within your courses and link content to social justice themes.

  • Promote self-evaluation as part of classwork.

  • Support better recruitment and retention of students who support social justice in your departments.

  • Help support inter-disciplinary work between departments at your institution to help share better practices across the university/college setting.


  • Become more involved and support research on health disparities. 

  • Foster scholar-advocate groups in Rhode Island and at the national Level. 

  • Create voluntary peer-review panels to identify research with potential for “broader impacts” on the drivers of inequality.

  • If training students, discuss foundational research and its representativeness.


Black Lives Matter
ACLU - Writing your Elected Representatives
American Civil Liberties Union


NAACP – Providence Branch:

Rhode Island Black Business Association:

Rhode Island Coalition of Black Women:

Nonviolence Institute:


Stages of Freedom

Direct Action for Rights and Equality:

George Floyd Memorial Fund
Ahmaud Arbery Fund 
Tony McDade Fund
Black Visions Collective - Minnesota
Color of Change
Be The Bridge
The Innocence Project
The Black Youth Project
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Equal Justice Initiative

Support for Protesters

Support local initiatives:
Rhode Island Monthly is continuing to update a list of local Black-owned businesses to support: