we are committed to social justice in healing
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..
At the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles we strive every day to create an inclusive and understanding environment where all patients are made to feel safe, cared for, understood, and supported. Our therapists join your journey with you so that you may heal and develop a greater resilience within yourself. As a team, we not only support mental health and healing for our patients, but we are also committed to developing healthier communities as a whole.
social justice resources
You will see part of our effort to develop healthy communities here on this page, which includes a growing collection from our team of social justice resources, including books, education, films, documentaries, and organizations you can support. See more on our vision and efforts in our Social Justice Open Letter to Humanity just below, and explore our resources as you scroll down our page.
open letter to humanity
Dear Amazing Humans,
The Phoenix is a powerful symbol for Dr. Kate Truitt, CEO of the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles. Rising from the ashes represents emerging from the fire of anguish and growing stronger, wiser, and more powerful than before. As a practice, we acknowledge and face the pain of the fire that has burned in the form of systemic, systematic oppression and injustice in the United States.
Our team’s standard of care prioritizes patient care and safety above all by creating an environment in which patients of all ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, sexual identities, gender identities, and religions can feel safe, cared for, understood, and supported. The journey of a therapist includes walking with you so that you may heal and develop a greater resilience within yourself for future life events. Our team of healers vows to uphold ethical standards of our profession, such as these outlined by The American Psychological Association:
- Develop awareness and engage in a deep exploration of one’s values, biases, and assumptions
- Actively acquire education around the ways in which race and ethnoculture influence the lived experiences of individuals and communities, including an understanding of the range and variability of the norms, value, and behaviors affected by ethnicity and race between and within groups
- Develop effective skills to engage in culturally relevant interventions at all levels
- Develop an understanding and awareness of the present influence of ethnicity, race, and related issues of power and privilege
- Have awareness that social justice is inherent to racial and ethnocultural responsiveness
The role of systemic oppression in forming and informing individual and collective pain provides context as we emphasize proactive and preventative approaches in creating greater global health throughout one’s healing journey. Our priority is to not only support mental health and healing for our patients, but to also strive to develop healthier communities by developing resources for the community at large, and for mental health and other wellness professionals, while also providing community workshops and professional trainings in resilience, empowerment, and trauma-informed care.
We will always endeavor to grow beyond ourselves and promote equality in mental health care throughout our practice and the greater community.
We will walk with you.
The team at the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles
books and education related to social justice
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin
Knowledge is power. Intentionally learning about, and teaching about, systemic oppression and racial injustice is vital to creating sustainable change and building true equality. Below are books from acclaimed authors who have inspired us and our children in our own growth journeys:
Notes of a Native Son
by James Baldwin
A collection of essays written by an iconic writer—James Baldwin. In this classic, Mr. Baldwin shares of the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. His voice provides a unique and powerful contribution as he explores not only his firsthand experiences of the injustices in the African American communities, but also shows empathy and strives to understand the point of view of the oppressor.
Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography
The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa
by Mark Mathabane
Systemic oppression is not unique to the American populace. In this powerful literary journey you will be transported to the desperate poverty and discrimination of the ghettos in South Africa. Experience the incredible power of the human spirit to triumph against all odds.
All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman
A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
When They Call You a Terrorist
A Black Lives Matter Memoir
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
This New York Times Bestseller and Time Magazine’s Best Memoirs of 2018 (as well as countless other recognitions) tells the powerful story of one of the founders of the Black Lives Matters movement. A movement born out of passion for justice and outrage at a broken system—Patrisse shares the deep pain of being branded a terrorist in her home country and the incredible resilience of the human spirit to fight for what is true, no matter the cost.
We Were Eight Years In Power
An American Tragedy
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This collection of essays about race and history in the Obama presidency explores modern day social, political and cultural conversations and how they relate to history. The book features the landmark essay “The Case for Reparations.” The National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me “reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath.” New York Times Bestseller, finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
by Jess Hong
Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!
Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent meaningful cross-racial dialogue.
We’re Different, We’re the Same and We’re Beautiful
Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside, but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all—an interestiing, and special, place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences, and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.
Adapted for Young Adults
by Bryan Stevenson
Attorney and advocate Bryan Stevenson writes from years of witnessing and advocating for the lives of those wrongfully imprisoned. A powerful look into the unjust realities of the America justice system and the efforts to address it, Stevenson’s story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society–the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to charity to help in Stevenson’s important work to benefit the voiceless and the vulnerable as they attempt to navigate the broken U.S. justice system.Bryan Stevenson also the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.
by Lupita Nyong’o, Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)
From Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within. Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. New York Times bestseller, recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work.
One Last Word
Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
by Nikki Grimes
Poetry has the ability to speak with power and beauty while cutting straight to the core. Nikki Grimes adds her own nuances in this beautiful collation of poems based on those born from the Harlem Renaissance and is illuminated by artwork from modern-day African American artists. This book celebrates the vibrancy of the culture of the Harlem Renaissance in the context of present-day American racial injustice.
Me and White Supremacy
Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
by Layla F. Saad
Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book goes beyond the original workbook by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
by Charlie Mackesy
Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together. Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations.
The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two essays that address racial tensions in America, the role of religion as both an oppressive force and an instrument for inspiring rage, and the necessity of embracing change and evolving past our limited ways of thinking about race.
Social Justice Films and Documentaries
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” – Jimmy Neil Smith
The story of America has historically been one sided—one narrative defined by those with the power to define. These incredible filmmakers, and documentarians have embraced the untold stories. Now it’s our turn. Let’s embrace, listen, watch, and grow.
Let it Fall
John Ridley’s dynamic documentary that brings you straight back into the harrowing world of Los Angeles in 1992 and the beating of Rodney King, but dives deeper into the painful distress and distrust that accumulated (and still grows today) between the African American communities and LAPD preceding the Los Angeles protests, and subsequent riots, of 1992. Shown through home videos, news coverage, and archived materials, be prepared for a raw and heart breaking journey back in time and be ready to understand the events of 2020 in ways you never anticipated.
I Am Not Your Negro
Raoul Peck brings to life James Baldwin’s final manuscript
Based on the left behind manuscripts of James Baldwin’s final work “Remember This House,” I Am Not Your Negro tells the stories of Mr. Baldwin’s close friends Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evans, and Malcom X. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this powerful documentary explores the truth of life, racism, and death by three seminal leaders in the African American communities. Described as a “hard truth about racism—not to be missed.”
Directed and produced by Peter Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt and George Kunhardt.
America has become the nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world, authorized the execution of hundreds of condemned prisoners and continued to struggle to recover from a long history of racial injustice. For more than three decades, Alabama public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has advocated on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned, seeking to eradicate racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. This HBO documentary follows Stevenson’s struggle to create greater fairness in the system and shows how racial injustice emerged, evolved and continues to threaten the country.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay
This 2016 documentary dives into the 13th amendment and the role it plays in maintaining the racial hierarchy as well as the criminalization of African-American males. Did you know that in 2015 30% of the African American male population had permanently lost their right to vote? This powerful documentary unpacks systemic oppression at it’s very root (or top)—the Constitution.
The Central Park Five
Filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon
The Central Park Five is a 2012 documentary film about the Central Park jogger case, directed by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns, and her husband David McMahon. Five Black and Latinos were falsely accused and convicted of beating and raping a female jogger in Central Park, and after spending from 6 to 13 years in prison, a serial rapist confused to the crime. The documentary covers the arrests, interrogations, trials, convictions and vacating the convictions of the five men who were teenagers in 1989 at the time of the case.
The Hate U Give
Directed by George Tillman
Based on a novel by Angie Thomas.
This powerful storyline portrays a teenage girl named Starr Carter who endures racism, black identity and police brutality after witnessing her black friend murdered by the police. Starr is constantly switching between two worlds—the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The film addresses a valuable message demonstrating all members of human race should be treated equal regardless of our wrongful judgment of others. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and decide to stand up for what’s right.
Executive-produced by R.J. Cutler
“Dear…” takes an inventive and cinematic approach to biographies of the most iconic figures in society today by using letters written by those whose lives have been changed through their work. The documentary series profiles internationally recognized leaders including Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yara Shahidi, Stevie Wonder, Aly Raisman, Misty Copeland, Big Bird and more. “Dear…” is executive-produced by Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner R.J. Cutler alongside Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson, Jane Cha and Lyle Gamm. Matador Content produces the series for Apple.
Paris is Burning
Filmmaker Jennie Livingston
The importance of Livingston’s exploration of New York ball culture in the 1980s only grows as the years pass. It was a rare film that gave center stage to queer people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, whose charisma and humanity shines through both their interviews and their fierce routines and performances. The film has also become a pop culture phenomenon, solidified by its constant referencing in RuPaul’s Drag Race, with its challenges engineered around ‘shade’, ‘reading’ and voguing. An additional poignancy watching the film today is seeing how many of the wonderful gay men and trans women have passed away, including one hugely likable young queen who was tragically murdered during the production.
Organizations Supporting Social Justice Causes
“Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.” – Albert Einstein
At the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles we believe becoming involved in and donating to deserving organizations is vital to creating sustainable change and building true equality. These are some of the organizations we recommend that are working every day for real change.
Boris Henson Foundation
The Boris Henson Foundation works to break and eradicate the stigma of mental health issues in the African-American community. The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 by Taraji P. Henson and led by Executive Director Tracie Jade Jenkins. The foundation is named in honor of Ms. Henson’s father, Boris Lawrence Henson, who suffered with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in Vietnam.
The Equal Justice Initiative
Founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and bestselling author of Just Mercy, EJI is a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons, challenging the death penalty and excessive punishment and providing re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.
Black Lives Matter
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Marsha P. Johnson Institute
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of black transgender people by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power. The organization was founded both as a response to the murders of black trans women and women of color and how that is connected to our exclusion from social justice issues, namely racial, gender, and reproductive justice, as well as gun violence.
Black Voters Matter Fund
The Black Voters Matter fund advocates for policies to expand voting rights/access, including expanded early voting, resisting voter ID, re-entry restoration of rights and strengthening the Voting Rights Act. The organization also advocates for policies that intersect with race, gender, economic and other aspects of equity.
The Conscious Kid
The Conscious Kid is an organization that uses thought-provoking books, interviews, and partnerships with other organizations to empower parents and educators to have powerful, productive conversations around equality, race, and identity development with children.
Lavender Rights Project
Lavender Rights Project (LRP) advances a more just and equitable society by providing low-cost civil legal services and community programming centered in values of social justice for trans and queer low-income people and other marginalized communities. Through direct representation and community programming, its by-and-for services aim to radically re-imagine the legal landscape for LGBTQ+ people while building community resilience, encouraging self-advocacy, and asserting the rights of marginalized populations.
Together Rising is a non-profit organization funded in large part by small donations from the general public designed to empower rapid, on the ground support and aid to those in dire need. Together Rising identifies what is breaking the hearts of its givers as they look around their world and their community, and then they connect their givers’ generosity with the people and organizations who are effectively addressing that critical need.
Black Visions Collective
BLVC is a trans- and queer-led social-justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis. BLVC is committed to a long-term vision in which ALL black lives not only matter, but are able to thrive. Through the development of powerful strategic campaigns, the organization seeks to expand the power of black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota, while also advancing a shift in public narrative that connects to transformative, long-term change.