2020 has been full of challenges and for many of us, crisis. The coronavirus impacted each of us on a personal, family, and community level. This ongoing pandemic will continue to alter our lives.
In May, our country’s history and present reality of racism came front and center with the killing of George Floyd. For some the harsh reminder of racism has brought tremendous pain, while others an acknowledgement that we have more to learn about antiracism and how to act to fight against racism.
As the trade association for the peer support profession, N.A.P.S. understands that racism, along with other forms of discrimination, is structural and systemic. Systems employing peer support specialists can harbor discriminatory and stigmatizing policy and practices, and peer support specialists may also face additional societal stigma and discrimination based on class, ethnicity, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, etc. We also know that discrimination, racism, and other forms of oppression impact the people in various systems whom peer support specialists serve.
While N.A.P.S. has made efforts to engage a diverse group of individuals from marginalized social groups, our Board recognized during our October strategic planning session that we can do better. We agreed to take proactive steps to increase the participation of underrepresented individuals and social groups in the membership and leadership of N.A.P.S.
One of the core values of peer support from N.A.P.S. National Practice Guidelines is that peer supporters facilitate change. The N.A.P.S. Board of Directors is committed to growth and change through the development of intentional practices and policies that support an organizational culture of acceptance, safety, and welcoming for all individuals. We continue to learn through this process and look forward to sharing this with you as we learn and grow from it.
Crisis as an opportunity for growth and change is a foundational concept to the peer support profession. Turning trauma, crisis, and chaos into meaningful change requires thinking in a new way, seeing in a new way, and responding in a new way. We hope you will join us in this effort.
Take care of yourself and your community,
President, N.A.P.S. Board of Directors