IFS and Racial Justice

IFS News
IFS and Racial Justice

The following is an email sent to the IFS community on 6/3/2020.


Dearest IFS Community, 

We are in the middle of two virus attacks—two pandemics. One, COVID-19, is recent. The other, racism, is a legacy burden that has plagued the United States for over 400 years. The first one pulled the curtain on the second such that the inequity at so many levels of our society was more exposed harder to deny. The disproportionate numbers of POC who get sick and die because of lack of access to health care or biased health care, because they have to work and take public transportation, who lost their job and are starving, etc. Then came the videos of the murders which ripped the curtain even further back and ripped at our heartstrings. As Will Smith said, “Racism is not getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”

Many of us have had clients who suffered for years in abusive relationships until suddenly their Self, mixed with their angry protectors that had been exiled, broke through their walls of fear and denial and said “No more!”  It feels like the people in our streets have reached that same tipping point. I believe that, as for those clients, these protests represent a breakthrough of Self leadership, mixed with formerly exiled rageful parts. Just as with those clients, what happens next depends on that mix. If the liberated protectors can provide energy, commitment, passion, and trust Self to lead, it will take many years of sustained, persistent effort but, I fully trust it will lead to the more Self-led, unburdened, country we long for.

We in the IFS community have something to contribute to a positive outcome to this crisis. We know that Self is contagious and that when we can get our protectors to open space, we have the Courage to engage: to bear witness to the pain caused by this pervasive legacy burden, and to act firmly but with Compassion to counter it. Each of our individual Selves are part of a larger field of SELF that surrounds the planet but can be covered over by the fields generated by hate and fear. Whenever you act from Self or help release it in others, you are contributing to that field’s growth and ability to affect the world. We’ve all amazed at how, when working with a client’s inner system that seems hopelessly polarized and chaotic, all that changes quickly as the access the critical mass of Self. I’m convinced that the same is true for this crisis which is a potential turning point in our country’s history. 

My process feels somewhat parallel in ways I suspect are true for many of you. I’ve had parts that have kept me from being more active. “What if you say the wrong thing?” “You’re already so busy—you can’t do everything.” “There’s no point now—wait until after the election”. As for so many others, the recent events washed over those parts and spurred me to commit more of my own and the IFS Institute’s resources to this movement.

What IFS institute is doing: 

  • We will be donating $10,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and encourage you to donate what you can.
  • We've made the following videos from past IFS conferences available for free on YouTube. Please share widely.
    • I’m Black, but Have Parts that are Blue… Deran Young, LCSW, President Black Therapists Rock with members of BTR Dr. Reginald Cunningham, Amanda Avery, Nicole Smith, Ann Dillard and Charnessa Pleasant.
    • “I’m Black, AND…”  Deran Young, LCSW, Founder & President of Black Therapists Rock and Tamala Floyd, Black Therapists Rock IFS Consultant along with members of the Black Therapists Rock organization.
  • To bring more black men into the IFS community, we will provide full scholarships for 5 Black men for an upcoming 2020 IFS Level 1 Training. 
  • We will sponsor enrollment of 100 POC in an Intro to IFS course created by Tamala Floyd for Black Therapist Rock.
  • Partner with Deran Young and Black Therapists Rock in an upcoming free event during Minority Mental Health Awareness in July (more details to come).

What can you do within our community? 

  • Educate - This is a helpful list of anti-racism resources. The book My Grandmothers Hands by Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP is also a powerful resource to learn from and share. 
  • Engage - overcome fear through courageous engagement. We are thrilled to see this already occurring in our community, as exemplified by the following quote from this post in our Facebook community by Leonore Tjia

    "Calling people out or in for expressing racist statements can be Self led -- it requires a lot of courage and clarity and often involves treading this balance of expressing the truth, and tracking what the other person can hear and internalize without going beyond their window of tolerance."

  • Cultivate Self leadership - IFS is a movement. An empowering paradigm for understanding and harmonizing the mind and, thereby, larger human systems. Through helping people heal we can impact change and help the world become a more compassionate place.

I can’t know what it is to be in this world as a Black person, but we are getting how much Black Americans are hurting and tired of feeling marginalized and living with constant fear. Tired of justice and mercy denied. Tired of suffering for this legacy burden that pervades our culture and sits in our hearts. There is no better time to find that trailhead of racism and unburden as much of it as you can. I hope to lead or participate in events where we work on that collectively. I believe IFS can do that and have had some good experiences so far with small groups

I’m excited (and some parts are nervous) to see where this expanded commitment will lead. Our community is full of talented, energetic, and Self-led leaders.  IFS-I will be doing more to try and organize community resources toward the goals of racial justice. We hope you will join us.

With love,