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Joshua Jones '14


The May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody, set off international protests, community conversations and, perhaps, individual examination of conscience about racial justice in America. We asked members of the DePauw community: Will you share your reflections on George Floyd’s death, the aftermath or any aspect of racial justice?

Joshua Jones ’14  is a master licensed social worker and a therapist who specializes in trauma work. 

Dehumanization of Black lives makes my career as a Black, male, millennial therapist increasingly more imperative. There are too few therapists who look like me, leaving communities of people feeling unseen and unheard. My identity regularly informs my practice and provides a unique understanding of the layered trauma of racial injustice.

My clients’ frequent experiences with racial injustice and other traumas require that I provide therapeutic space for healing. I’m deeply committed to ensuring their physical, emotional and relational safety; building trust through consistency, acknowledgement of power imbalances and collaboration; providing room for choice and autonomy; and empowering them to live their lives more fully as they counter feelings of hopelessness and helplessness associated with trauma.

The significance of my clinical mental health training has been profoundly evident since my first weeks of graduate school. After graduating from DePauw, I began working toward a Master of Social Work at Saint Louis University. Two weeks later, Michael Brown Jr. was killed in my hometown of Ferguson, Missouri. I was serving as the graduate assistant in the Cross Cultural Center, where I oversaw the African-American Male Scholars Initiative. Committed to increasing the retention and graduation rates of Black male students, I worked with young men every day whose lived experiences weren’t dissimilar to Mike Brown’s.

 The recent killing of George Floyd and too many others continues to engage all I learned from these young scholars. They taught me the importance of safety, trust, collaboration, choice and empowerment and set me on the path to using these evidence-based practices in trauma intervention. Most important, I’ve learned that the provision of these core principles does not require credentials as much as commitment to the healing power of equity and justice.

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