By The BIPOCanalysis Collective
We, the BIPOCanalysis Collective, a group comprised of hundreds of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color within the international psychoanalytic community, declare our full support of our colleague, Dr. Lara Sheehi. This statement represents our condemnation of both the specious charges of anti-Semitism against her and the violence that has been targeted towards her and her family. It stands as a statement of full-throated solidarity with our beloved colleague, Dr. Sheehi.
Speaking as a Collective, we are unified in condemning: the tactics of the pro-Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, who are known for targeting and harassing scholars; the malicious acts of doxxing that Dr. Sheehi is experiencing; the death threats, sniper threats, and threats of vandalism to her home that Dr. Sheehi is experiencing; and the fomenting of misinformation about Dr. Sheehi. We believe that these tactics are being used in a targeted effort to silence Dr. Sheehi, whom we regard as one of the most powerful voices for psychoanalysis and social justice in our time.
Speaking as a Collective, we are in solidarity with Dr. Sheehi, as the first Arab Lebanese woman President of the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology (SPPP), Division 39 of the American Psychological Association and as a person who has dedicated her personal and professional life to work for liberation and social justice for Palestinians, and for all groups experiencing marginalization and political oppression. We declare our unwavering support of the GWU students and alumni who attest that Dr. Sheehi provides “a fair, safe, and containing environment in which students can discuss complex and difficult issues.” We declare our solidarity with the efforts made by Dr. Sheehi to model academic freedom in the form of mutual aid and collective action.
As a Collective, we are gravely concerned that since 2016, academics have been increasingly targeted by right-wing “advocacy” groups in attempts to aggressively silence and limit academic freedom in profound ways. In the last year alone, the United States has seen a chilling number of such movements to silence and target marginalized communities, including: anti-trans bills across the country, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, the criminalization of the BLM movement as a terrorist movement, Governor Ron DeSantis’ mission to block an AP African-American Studies course from being taught in Florida public high schools, and Governor Sarah Huckabee’s weaponization of the controversy of the term Latinx by banning it from government documents, to name only a few. As clinicians, we believe that these political actions target marginalized people, and place them at greater risk for physical violence from others and for psychological harm.
As a Collective, we are in full support of Dr. Sheehi’s efforts to challenge and disrupt a status quo that silences and harms marginalized communities, not just in the field of psychoanalysis, but in the larger domain of academic scholarship. We are in great need for more educators and mentors like Dr. Sheehi–courageous academic thinkers and leaders who are willing to inspire the next generation to advance the cause of freedom for all who are oppressed.
We urge George Washington University to provide the institutional support that is required to ensure the safety of Dr. Sheehi. We believe that efforts to support her will send a powerful and hopeful signal to the community that the University is committed to freedom of expression and to the fight against oppression of marginalized groups in the United States and abroad.
The BIPOCanalysis Collective
The BIPOCanalysis Collective is an anti-space for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color within the psychoanalytic community. We define anti- not as a relationship to, or with, whiteness, but rather, in the radical tradition of disruption of a particular normative order, economically, socially, politically, and in our field, clinically and in training spaces. To this end, as an anti-space, the BIPOCanalysis collective is explicitly abolitionist, queer, non-binary and trans-affirming, and feminist. It is also explicitly anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Zionist. BIPOCanalysis is decolonial in its approach, with specific focus on decentering hegemonic modes of praxis and knowledge and recentering that which has been displaced, dismembered, and discarded by settler-colonialism, coloniality, ableism, and cis-heteropatriarchal white supremacy.