Karen Pence is a Hippa-Crite




We prepared for our participation in the Families Belong Together Rally by making copies of our latest ART THERAPISTS 4 HUMAN RIGHTS press release:


(link:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xHVqzMPOOMlWIQjqhm4CvBo6yrEQ6IYJbWAhb63-nh8/edit) and making signs, of course. Tabitha Fronk and I have been to countless demonstrations expressing our outrage over the Trump administration’s policies, but our mission this time was more specific. We were determined to speak out about Karen Pence’s unacceptable silence on the Immigration crisis.


The deplorable policy of separating children from their families was sufficiently repugnant that 75,000 people showed up in downtown Los Angeles to show their outrage. If locking children up in cages doesn’t mobilize citizenry, we have lost all hope of regaining our sanity in this country. Adults and babies of every shape and color were in attendance. Riding the Expo line down to the rally, we found some comfort in those sheer numbers continuing to show up. We are bonded by our outrage -- and our clever ability to make art and signs.


As Art Therapists, we must pay particular attention to KAREN PENCE, who as a member of this Administration has said NOTHING about this horrendous practice. When the American Art Therapy Association has sent her around to various venues to promote their alliance, the press has been barred from asking Karen any questions. I have yet to see any press on the Pence’s position on separating children from their families. They seem to have been conveniently out of the country for this volatile week, perhaps they are sowing the seeds of their takeover. Maybe they are trying to stay out of the light. Troglodytes tend to avoid the light and the Pences certainly espouse caveman-like reasoning. Beyond their unabashed racism and sexism, aren’t the Pences alleged to be pious people with Christian values? I see a pair of hateful sycophants standing silently beside an insane and vengeful dictator who is dismantling our democracy one tweet at a time.  


Toting my KAREN PENCE IS A HIPAA CRITE sign allowed for some genuine inquiry. A nurse approached and said she knows what “HIPAA” is but what does my sign mean? She was genuinely perplexed, as so many are, to learn that our national association allowed itself to be hijacked by a right wing republican evangelical fundamentalist extremist. Karen Pence is more interested in self-promotion than the safety, privacy and well-being of people in need. She posts pictures of patients and clients in hospitals and treatment centers without regard to ethical principles of Art Therapy and the American Art Therapy Association is apparently OK with that.


Tabitha carried SPEAK UP KAREN PENCE and SEPARATION IS TRAUMA. We handed out our press releases and even slipped some into the bags of journalists as they walked by. We put them under news van windshield wipers and we gave them outright to peeved reporters scrawling furiously on their notepads. We hoped to spark dialogue, maybe intrigue a journalist or two.


Other signs like: “Make America Compassionate Again” “ICE is not Healthy for Children or Other Living Things” “You Can’t Claim Family Values If You Don’t Value Families” and “I Can’t Believe I Have To Carry a Sign Protesting Babies in Cages,” provided the backdrop for a cavalcade of Spanish and English speakers who addressed the crowd. There were mental health professionals, politicians, parents and entertainers. Laverne Cox spoke (she always shows up), Maxine Waters responded fiercely to recent national conversations about “civility” and met her enemies head on by stating that they better shoot straight, “because there is nothing like a wounded animal.” Black Lives Matter reps, CA Senator Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom (likely next CA Governor), representatives from immigrant and disability communities and others, rallied the crowd to stand up against zero tolerance ICE practices. Mayor Eric Garcetti was met with a backlash for the presence of ICE in LA and a detention center located not far from the rally. John Legend sang Marvin Gaye’s WHAT’S GOING ON which allowed for a moment of reflection, not only in his calming voice but in the song’s eloquent inquiry. The lyrics: “Ticket lines, and Picket signs, don’t punish me with brutality” had particular resonance as I reflected on historic struggles in this country of devaluing and separating families of indigenous and immigrant populations.


The other side of my sign said: SILENCE IS COMPLICITY and it is meant for Karen Pence as much as it is meant for citizens of this country who are standing by while our country is being taken over by a hostile dictatorship and his sycophantic Pencemen. It is also meant for the Art Therapy community. We cannot accept Karen Pence to be a spokesperson or “advocate” for our field as long as her administration continues to inflict these types of human rights violations. When will Art Therapists fully reject the AATA’s association with her? This is why we have started ART THERAPISTS 4 HUMAN RIGHTS as a grassroots alternative -- to inform the public and the art therapy community, on what constitutes a true commitment to our constituencies.


Let’s make Art Therapy less HIPPA-critical and more compassionate again.




Photos from rally. Protest signs. Crowd. Press Release.



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