of Recent Events and Harm
By Roger Harrison, Ph.D., Diversity Chair and President-elect

Co-signed by Doug Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP, President
Dear DPA members, 

It is with mixed emotions that we pause, yet again, to acknowledge recent events affecting communities in America who have experienced so much oppression, terror, and assaults on their lives and human dignity.

We share in the pain being experienced by so many in the LGBTQIA+ community in light of the senseless loss of life on Saturday at Club Q in Colorado Springs, created by the actions of a heavily-armed man in an apparent hate-inspired act of terror. We acknowledge and share frustration, anger, and fatigue that we are here again, living the consequences of increasing homophobic and transphobic rhetoric in a society that too often elevates and amplifies the purveyors of bigotry and hate. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the 5 killed in this tragedy:
  • Derrick Rump, age 38, originally from Berks County, Pennsylvania, a beloved bartender at Club Q.
  • Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old transgender man from Tulsa, Oklahoma who moved to Colorado Springs two years ago. Daniel also worked as a bartender and entertainer at Club Q
  • Ashley Paugh, a 35-year-old mother to an 11-year-old daughter.
  • Kelly Loving, age 40, a transgender woman who was visiting from Denver for the weekend.
  • Raymond Green Vance, age 22, who had just received his first paycheck from his new job with FedEx.
We pause to honor the lives of these victims, while sending love, warmth, positive energy, and/or prayers toward the 19 other precious human beings who were injured during this shooting.

We also pause to stand with our Jewish colleagues and friends in light of continued antisemitic violence and attempted violence. As many are likely aware, on Saturday in New York City, a joint NYPD/FBI Terrorism Task Force arrested two men possessing firearms, high capacity magazines, ammunition, bulletproof vests, swastika arm patches, and other items, after law enforcement connected these men to online postings indicating an intent to use their weapons at a Manhattan synagogue. Similar to the alleged perpetrator in Colorado Springs (22 year-old), these men were 21 and 22 years old, suggesting that hate is being effectively transmitted to a new generation of (mostly) men.

As we write this message, details are emerging about yet another mass shooting in America, this time in Chesapeake Virginia in a local Walmart. We pause to grieve that senseless loss of life and to share in the pain of yet another affected community.

Regardless of the manner in which hate and oppression manifests—racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, etc.—many of us continue to experience stress connected to important aspects of our identity. We acknowledge that for people who hold minoritized or multiple minoritized identities, these incidents increase stress and leave individuals and families feeling physically or emotionally unsafe in multiple settings, at work, in the supermarket, in places of worship, in malls, in places of entertainment, list goes on and on. If you are hurting, please take all the steps you need to promote your wellness and healing! Care for yourself and allow others to care for you!

As Nelson Mandela shared, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” If you do not hold minoritized identity, as before, we encourage you to examine yourself, the privilege that you hold based on your identity and role(s), and the opportunities you have to support those who do not share your privilege.

Earlier this year, a colleague at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas, Dr. Christina Low Kapalu, shared a wonderful set of suggestions for those seeking to take action as allies. With her permission, we share it with this group:
  • Bear witness and educate yourself

  • Speak up against injustice

  • Be an Upstander Against Racism/Bigotry

While none of us likely knew these perpetrators, I would venture to guess we have seen threatening or inappropriate content on the internet. Have we ever reported it? Did we just scroll by? What is the cost of inaction?
  • Stay engaged
  • It is easy in this, with so many horrendous things going on, to let the headline fade and the experience fade with it. But we cannot do this. We cannot forget about our commitment to stay engaged and act.
  • Educate
  • Share new information you learn about race, racism, discrimination, bias, equity, inclusion, justice, advocacy, etc.
  • Multiply the knowledge by sharing it with others. Perhaps you will help them to think about an issue in a different way and perhaps they will effect further change in others in their circle.
  • Learn
  • If you don’t know where to start, THIS list of books focused on LGBTQ+ people and history compiled by NBC News to commemorate LGBTQ History Month or THIS resource on the history of antisemitism in America, created by the Anti-Defamation League.

In solidarity,

Dr. Roger Harrison
Chair of the Diversity Committee
President- elect


Dr. Doug Tynan