June 13, 2016

APA Letter to Orlando Officials in Wake of Mass Shootings

APA President Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, and Allen M. Omoto, PhD, president of Div. 44, reach out to Orlando officials.

Mr. Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director
GLBT Community Center of Central Florida

Mayor Buddy Dyer
City of Orlando

Dear Mayor Dyer and Mr. DeCarlo:

On behalf of the 117,500 members of the American Psychological Association, and our Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, we offer our condolences to the Orlando community — especially the members and families of the LGBT community and their allies — for your tremendous loss from the shootings that took place yesterday. That this act of terrorism and hate took place during the season of LGBT Pride is especially cruel, since this is a time dedicated to celebrate and rejoice in the LGBT community and its many gifts. For this year, our joy is transformed to mourning for the injury and loss of members of the Orlando community.

Although such acts of terror and hate affect us all, we know that the LGBT community — people already at heightened risk for victimization and discrimination — may be especially affected by this shooting. As you know, social support and a sense of community are very important in helping people to make sense of what seems senseless. For those who need more than the community can provide, APA is working with the Florida Psychological Association to activate the local members of APA's Disaster Resource Network, a group of approximately 2,500 licensed psychologists across the U.S. and Canada who have expertise in assisting individuals, families and communities after such incidents. Additionally, we urge you to refer members of your community to some of the online resources we have to help people cope in the aftermath of such tragedies, including information related to gun violence prevention.

We commend your efforts to help those in pain or anguish, and especially to assist members of the LGBT community to find strength and heal. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. Our thoughts are with you and the people of Orlando as you heal from this horrific incident.

Susan H. McDaniel, PhD
APA President

Allen M. Omoto,  PhD
President, APA Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues