Ellenhorn Social Responsibility Statement
September 23, 2020
The Social Responsibility Committee at Ellenhorn is issuing a statement in support of the nationwide calls, including the call from the governor of Kentucky, for the immediate review of all the grand jury evidence in the case against three Louisville police officers in the murder of Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor was a 26 year old emergency room technician studying to be a nurse who was shot five times in her apartment and died after police with a search warrant, looking for two men who were suspected of selling drugs, stormed into her apartment. Yesterday, a Kentucky grand jury determined that charges of homicide will not be levied against the three police officers and instead only charge one of the officers with first-degree wanton endangerment for firing ten rounds of bullets which carries a maximum sentence of five years according to Kentucky statute We are enraged that this brazen miscarriage of justice regarding state-sanctioned violence against its own citizens is continually being allowed to be the norm in our country. As mental health clinicians who are grounded in understanding the cultural and institutional root causes of such a travesty of justice, we are compelled to stand in solidarity with Breonna Taylor‘s family and many others who have had enough.
June 2, 2020
At the core of our philosophy at Ellenhorn is a strong belief in the social and psychological injuries of dehumanization: the viewing and treating of other human beings as things. Our work has always been about helping the people we serve recover from dehumanizing systems of care and a society that lacks tolerance for difference. It’s really what we’re referring to, when we talk about “psychosocial trauma.”
At the core of this core philosophy is a belief in what Martin Luther King called, “the sacredness of human personality,” and what James Baldwin described as the “disquieting complexity of ourselves.” We thus see any behavior in which a person’s unique humanity is ignored, abused or erased as a sacrilege; an unholy act.
The murder of George Floyd was an act of dehumanization incarnate: 8 minutes and 46 seconds in which an individual’s personhood, and then person, were heinously annihilated. We bemoan this loss, and we lament all the ways in which dehumanizing systems in this country treat all and any of our brothers and sisters who are denied access to power and who are marginalized. From children in cages, the creeping corrosion of worker’s rights, the awful denial of everyday sexual assault of women and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on minority neighborhoods to the broad-daylight murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Floyd is tragically part of a nation of individuals whose choices, freedoms and lives have been limited by the insidious processes of dehumanization in our culture.