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Why Black Lives Matter to Child Psychiatrists

Children and adolescents need morally strong role models and a nurturing "holding environment" to achieve their developmental potential and overall wellbeing. The structural violence that our society has long perpetuated against Black people (and against many other groups along the way), stunts young people's sense of trust in their own safety and inhibits their faith in themselves, depriving all of us of their contributions to our country.

An epidemic of police brutality is only one ugly piece of the problem; numerous social and health indicators reflect centuries of subjucation and inequality that cruelly impact people of color, and ultimately diminish the rest of us as well, morally, financially and spiritually. We rise and fall together, and silence is, indeed, complicity, in our collective downfall.

To paraphrase Martin Niemöller:

  • First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out —
  • Because I was not a socialist.
  • Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out —
  • Because I was not a trade unionist.
  • Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
  • Because I was not a Jew.
  • Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.