LA-CAMFT chapter members were among several hundreds of thousands celebrating life, resiliency, diversity, and courage at the LA PRIDE Music Festival in West Hollywood. On the festival’s final day, Angelenos stood in silence along the entire parade route in mourning for the 49 brothers and sisters murdered, the 53 injured, the victims’ many families and friends, the global LGBTQ community, the world. Reporters noted that though the mass shooting in Orlando and the thwarted threat of violence in Santa Monica added a tone of solemnity to the event, the indomitable spirit and celebration of LA PRIDE was not deterred!!
On this same fateful day, LA-CAMFT Board of Directors and potential new chapter leaders attended an all-day Leadership Retreat of camaraderie, strategic planning, and reaffirmation of chapter vision and priorities. (See From Curiosity to Commitment below). At the time we gathered we were not aware of the events in Orlando. We were not physically present to stand with our colleagues and LGBTQ community in silence along the parade route. We take this opportunity to do so now, to let it be known that LA-CAMFT stands with Orlando. We stand against homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, hate and bigotry. We stand in respect of all cultures. We stand in support of all who fight for the collective right to pursue lives of dignity and self determination without fear of harm.
As a community of therapists in one of the most diverse counties of the nation, we recommit ourselves to increasing the diversity of therapists in LA-CAMFT membership, highlighting sexuality and gender awareness, and strengthening overall cultural literacy and competence, in our field as a whole and in our individual practices.
We recognize that fear, economic insecurity, violence, and bigotry, all increase the stress experienced by all people, even more so for those who struggle with emotional instability and mental health issues. We recognize that the degree of human tragedy in Orlando overwhelms our sense of safety and security, triggers past traumas, and heightens survival stress responses of flight, fight and freeze; not only for individuals already struggling with emotional and psychological issues but for all people.
We call for an increase in our local capacity to provide emergency response and recovery services to those afflicted in our own communities. To this end, I personally encourage all therapists to become acquainted with the CAMFT Crisis Response and Education Resource Committee webpage which offers materials and resources materials and resources for clients who may be impacted by a crisis and for therapists interested in being trained as emergency responders (different set of skills than those for therapy) and reiterate my request to anyone interested in forming a local committee of the CRERC, to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I refer you to a beautifully written, reflective, and informative article A Response to the Orlando Shooting, by Tony Davis, LMFT, LA-CAMFT leadership team member, friend and colleague.