Lisa M. Rocchio, PhD
Dear Division 56 COLLEAGUES,
I write to you with feelings of tremendous sadness, anger, and devastation in the wake of yet another horrific and senseless tragedy and loss of life due to hatred and guns. The massacre of 19 school children and 2 teachers shortly after the massacre of Black shoppers in Buffalo and Asian churchgoers in California are recent occurrences of the mass shootings that occur regularly in the United States fueled by hatred and carried out with weapons of mass destruction. The horrors of war in the Ukraine continue, and as hate crimes and violence escalate, we are also seeing the proliferation of legislation and policies targeting transgender rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, and immigration. Those of us who speak out against these atrocities and name the cruelty, hatred and violence for what it is, rather than mislabeling it as a “mental health problem,” are also targeted, and science is distorted, misrepresented, and presented as mere “opinion,” not only in social media, but by mainstream news organizations and politicians. Trauma, violence, and hatred affect us all, and not just the direct victims and their loved ones. The cruelty is the point, for that is the function and goal of domestic terrorism.
Yet, despite all, I also hold hope about our ability to effect necessary change. As trauma psychologists, we are in the best position to correct misinformation, influence policy change, engage in advocacy and social justice work, and provide valuable scientific information to decision-makers in many spheres of influence, including the legal, educational, and political systems, health care, and the media.
Our division members and volunteers have been hard at work, and we would not be able to continue our mission of moving the field of trauma psychology forward without the hard work of our many volunteers. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming our newly elected 2023 members of the Executive Committee: President-Elect: Carlos Cuevas; Treasurer: Barbara Niles; Member-at-Large: Ayli Carrero Pinedo; and Council Representative: Demara Bennett. I also want to thank all of you who ran for election, and encourage you to remain active and involved in our division. We need you!