A strong statement in support of those who speak out against racism and seek racial justice was voiced in a letter to the Wright State University community by Counseling and Wellness Services.
The unit also announced plans to form an advisory committee of students to help the staff better understand and be more responsive to the needs of the entire student body.
Counseling and Wellness Services offers a wide range of mental health services to Wright State students, including life coaching, individual, group and couples counseling, crisis intervention and psychological assessment.
“We are writing to you today to express our solidarity with those who are speaking out against anti-Black racism and violence and who are seeking racial justice,” the letter begins. “It is important to us that we be transparent in acknowledging that in the past we have not publicly shared our feelings of pain and anguish in response to the suffering and injustice caused by systemic racism and oppression. Nor have we publicly reaffirmed our commitment to social justice in response to instances of violence and injustice in our community and beyond. We recognize that our silence has likely caused harm and prevented people whom we are here to serve from seeing us as supports. We take responsibility for that.
“Racism and its associated injustices have a profound impact on the health and well-being of people of color. Daily experiences of being discriminated against and silenced in the context of longstanding systemic oppression lead to cumulative stress that can rob people of their mental health. Our mission is to promote optimal student wellness and mental health and the pursuit of social justice. It necessitates that we actively examine how we participate in and benefit from systems that perpetuate injustice and that we take ownership of the work of dismantling these systems.
“Action is required and we are reaffirming our commitment to increase personal and professional engagement with the issues raised by members of the antiracism and Black Lives Matter movements. We will continue to engage in active self-examination and will challenge one another to consistently follow through on our commitment to social justice. Because the diversity of our staff does not reflect the diversity of the community we serve and because we wish to be responsive to the needs of our student body, we will also form an advisory committee of students. We are ready to listen, we are committed to doing the work, and our doors are open.”
The letter was signed by Daniela Burnworth, M. Szilvia Jenei, Jessica Moss, Allison Newlin, Sarah Peters, Robert Rando and Richeena Rogers.