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  • Writer's picturematthewbramanlcsw

We Signed Hello Seven's Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge. Here's Why.

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Power and Privilege is Always Used Best with Integrity.

We provide clinical social work services. We believe that social work is political. We believe that politics are personal. We believe that white supremacy and racism are politically and personally injurious for our clients, everyone we know, and everyone included in the Broader Society.

Therefore, we signed the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge, as created by Hello Seven. It's an effort to encourage that small business owners commit to building equitable, anti-racist organizations. It's not enough for people to say that they're "not racist". They must be Anti-Racist.

“Anti-racist: those who speak and act in ways that advance racial equity in society; the act of interrupting racism."

Our Ethical Values and Commitments

As a modern and inclusive mental health practice that provides clinical social work services including therapy for racial identity, we believe that taking the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge is one actionable way that we can use our power and privilege with integrity while we live up to our values, which are intentionally adopted from the same core values of our professional membership organization, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

NASW Values = Our Values

  • Service

  • Social Justice

  • Dignity and Worth of the Person

  • Importance of Human Relationship

  • Integrity

  • Competence

The NASW Code of Ethics is clear on social workers’ ethical responsibilities to Broader Society:

“6.04 Social and Political Action

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.
(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups.
(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.
(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical ability.”

NASW joined with the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association to call on our nation to declare systemic racism a public health crisis; a pandemic that needs to end. Read their op-ed here that was published in the Orlando Sentinel.


Recent history of the mental health world would show that many clinicians were educated to develop "cultural competence". While competence is an important NASW core value and pillar of responsible clinical practice, we believe that one cannot simply become fully "competent" in a culture from which that one person does not inherently belong.


Instead, we prefer the endearing process of "cultural humility", which in our view, does well to emphasize that personal healing and developmental work is a lifelong endeavor instead of an arrival point at which someone may become stagnant, comfortable, or ignorant.

"To learn" is a verb, and we will practice humility to always improve and increase our personal and professional knowledge, skills, empathy, understanding of, and connection to humanity and multiculturalism.

According to a recent statement made on Instagram by the NASW New York State Chapter (@naswnys) on January 15, 2021, “Being a social worker does not absolve you from being racist”. We agree. We are grateful to NASW for their ongoing guidance for anti-racist resources.

Matthew Braman, LCSW, Founder & CEO of Verve Psychotherapy LCSW, PLLC, statement on his own white identity, power & privilege, and dismantling white supremacy in mental health:

“Using my personal and professional power & privilege - white, cis-gender & heterosexual male, middle class, millennial & college educated small business owner, married & U.S. born citizen, Christian, and neurotypical able-body - with integrity is an ongoing action, a lifelong journey, and a legacy to which I am committed for as long as I live”.

We will update our Anti-Racist Small Business website page with details of our ongoing efforts to continue listening, learning, and following through with anti-racist social and political action. We welcome feedback from anyone and everyone at any time. SEND US A MESSAGE here.


We hereby condemn and denounce white supremacy.


We hereby call on all of our family, friends, clients, colleagues, and everyone in Broader Society to help us dismantle racism with anti-racist social and political action. Examine your life, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Educate yourself. Humanize Asian American, Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous People of Color. Be intentional. Read something. Feel something. Say something. Do something anti-racist.​



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