Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society
The Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society (MAGPS) is a regional affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association that serves group therapists in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
ANTI-RACISM TASK FORCE
Statement of Introduction
In February 2020, the MAGPS Board met for our Spring meeting. One of the items on the agenda was to create an Anti-Racism Task Force to address systemic racism in the mental health field, as well as in our own organization. In the mental health community, and more specifically within our organization, individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have sustained significant injuries as a result of implicit bias, racism, and other related behaviors that perpetuate systemic oppression, both consciously and unconsciously. We feel strongly that we must take a hard look at our organization.
The Board voted unanimously to support the efforts of the TaskForce, and agreed that the first action item would be to write a mission statement for the website. Directly after this meeting, AGPA held their annual conference in New York City and many of MAGPS’ members became ill with COVID-19. Two of the Task Force’s members were at the conference and also became ill with COVID-19. Our mission was stalled because of illness and then by the devastating effects of the pandemic, particularly in Black/African-American communities. Just before George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, the Anti-Racism Task Force for MAGPS began to reassemble. The reason for our inception has not changed but the urgency for this work has become center stage in our country. It is unacceptable that it took the unjust murder of yet another Black person to create the current energy towards dismantling racism, and we are dedicated to maintaining the energy that was behind the creation of the Task Force.
The Anti-Racism Task Force is a brand new and overdue initiative, and we are committed to facing racism and white privilege at personal, systemic, and organizational levels. We, and MAGPS as a community, are committed to advancing our mission to train group psychotherapists through the lens of cultural humility and with the understanding that the mental health profession, including group psychotherapy, has not done enough to understand systemic racism in our field, and thus has been complicit in it. As we watch various organizations struggle to capture the right sentiment to convey their anti-racist position, it is a part of our task to wonder why it has taken us so long.
The mission of the MAGPS Anti-Racism Task Force is fluid and the work that we do to fulfill our mission will evolve as we grow in our work as anti-racists. We are committed to being accountable to each other in the learning we must do. We are committed to inclusion. We are committed to being allies to all marginalized people; and in particular, we are committed to fighting the systemic oppression and racism against Black and Brown people. We apologize on behalf of MAGPS for not having stood up sooner.
Alison, Shemika, Liz and Chris
MAGPS Anti-Racism Task Force Chairs
The Anti-Racism Task Force Becomes the Anti-Racism Committee
In July of 2021, the MAGPS Board ushered in a new President (Karen Eberwein), and several new Board members (See section above). The Anti-racism Task Force transitioned into the Antiracism Committee, as a new position on the Board.