Introduction from the Executive Committee of the ADTA
The members of the ADTA Executive Committee offer the following statement created by our colleagues in the Black American and African Descendants (BAAD) Affinity Group. We stand with them in absolutely denouncing gun violence against Black men, in particular violence perpetrated by law enforcement. Such disproportionate violence sows daily fear, mistrust and, for some, symptoms of traumatic disorders. As dance/movement therapists, we are aware of the impact this has on the mental health and wellbeing of many of our members as well as the communities we serve. We cannot remain silent on an issue of such profound social justice.
This statement is shared by the voices within our ADTA community most impacted by the violence against Black men and we honor the lived experience of our colleagues and deeply appreciate the clarity and vulnerability of their sharing.
With deep respect,
The Executive Committee of the ADTA
Dear ADTA members,
The ADTA has been ask to address the unexplained and inhuman gun violence against Black men across the United States. We are stepping up and stepping back by asking members of the BAAD affinity group to share their voice. Black DMTS and Black ADTA members reported that the effects on the black community from unexplained and inhuman gun violence are such as being fearful of their lives, fear and mistrust of law enforcement, the oppressing and violent nature of the society we live in and having to be hyper vigilant of “the white man” is not illusion but a reality. Clinicians need to support Black men and their communities in expanding their view of themselves as well, as it will provide them more opportunities and options to grow and navigate their lives. Lastly being a witness to a black man being harmed or killed on television can be equally traumatic to someone who is being harmed or killed for being black in real time.
As dance/movement therapists, we are aware of the trauma and likely long-term consequences associated with post traumatic stress and it is equally important to acknowledge some of the symptoms that arise from post traumatic slave syndrome that often go unrecognized.
As a profession that seeks to heal and help our communities, it is important that we take a strong position against violence, oppression and degradation against anyone based on the color of their skin, language they speak, cultural identity and/or sexual orientation/gender identity. Reflected in our Code of Ethics, this stance is a core principle of ADTA belief and behavior.
6.0: Dance/movement therapists promote social justice with a recognition that a just society contributes to individual, family, and community health.
6.0.a: Dance/movement therapists cultivate awareness of and address oppression and disparities in power and privilege, resulting in barriers to wellness, at individual, institutional, and societal levels. Dance/movement therapists advocate for equitable access to services and culturally competent care.
The ADTA encourages professionals to engage in this conversation with a trauma informed lens promoting more empathic listening, understanding, cultural awareness and cultural education. We will always put healing and wellness first. Let us be an organization that expresses this as our highest value.
As we continue the conversation around our conference Keynote of Power and Privilege, if you see ways that the ADTA can be of support to our members that are people of color, please contact leader of the Allies for Social Justice group, Melody Gamba, firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are a person of color who wants to get involved, please contact, Charne Furcon, email@example.com at in relation to the Multicultural Diversity Committee. We want more of our members passionate about this topic to get involved. We sincerely want to hear from you – especially from those voices that do not feel representation in the community.
“No label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and no religion is more important than the human being.” – James Baldwin
With Respect, Love and Hope for Change
BAAD Affinity Group
The American Dance Therapy Association
DeGruy, J., Dr. (2005) Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, Published by: Uptone Press.
DeGruy, J., Dr. (2005). SpeakOutNow: Voices Change Live
Campbell, B. (2018). Past, Present, Future: A Program Development Project exploring Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) using experiential education and dance movement therapy informed approaches (Masters Thesis).
Love, D. (2016). Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome and Intergenerational Trauma: Slavery is Like a Curse Passing Through the DNA of Black People.
Blades, L. A. (2017). Trauma From Slavery Can Actually Be Passed Down Through Your Genes
Goodman,R. D.(2013) The transgenerational trauma and resilience genogram, Counselling Psychology Quarterly
In accordance with the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) Code of Ethics, the Executive Committee of the ADTA Board of Directors denounces recent policies and practices that separate children from their families, detain families and/or deny basic human rights. Per our Code of Ethics:
- 6.0: Dance/movement therapists promote social justice with a recognition that a just society contributes to individual, family, and community health.
- 6.0.a: Dance/movement therapists cultivate awareness of and address oppression and disparities in power and privilege, resulting in barriers to wellness, at individual, institutional, and societal levels. Dance/movement therapists advocate for equitable access to services and culturally competent care.
As dance/movement therapists, we are aware of the trauma and likely long-term consequences associated with these recent practices. Thus, we categorically oppose any legislation or practice that:
- separates families
- holds families in detention
- bans travel based on country of origin or religion
While the current administration has announced an end to their policy of separating children from their families at the border, families fleeing violence are still being criminalized for their attempts to survive. Further, the majority of the 2,000 children separated from their families have yet to be re-united.
The ADTA is non-partisan. We are, however, pro-children, pro-families and pro-basic human rights and dignity. Our Code of Ethics requires us to speak out in the face of practices we know are damaging to the fundamental well-being of individuals, regardless of their country of origin. We urge this administration to educate themselves on the generational impact of their policies and to remediate their course of action immediately before further damage is inflicted.
Margaret Migliorati, President
Jody Wager, Past President
Paul Sevett, President-Elect
Leslie Armenioux, Secretary
Vicky Wilder, Treasurer
Charné Furcron, Multicultural and Diversity Chair
Jessica Young, Education Chair
The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) unequivocally states our opposition to recent state laws, both existing and proposed (SB 1556/HB 1840), which while advocating “religious freedom” in actuality promote discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.
The ADTA, since its inception, has demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of social justice and the protection of diverse cultures from misuse of power and privilege, discrimination and prejudice.
The ADTA reminds our members that our Code of Ethics and Standards ADTA Code of Ethics obliges us to respect multicultural diversity (section 2.3) and promote social justice; “Dance/movement therapists promote social justice with a recognition that a just society contributes to individual, family and community health” (section 6.0). Our ethical code rests on the principles of justice, beneficence, respect and veracity compelling our professional behavior to reject the kind of discrimination put forth by these laws.
Mental health professions across the United States prohibit unfair discrimination against clients. Read more here: