Hey, this is a long shot since I know this isn't your area, but it's semi-related and I've tried googling around with little success. I'm in a MS program for counseling psychology and my long term goal is to be a privately practicing mental health counselor. I've been trying to get more involved with BLM and related movements, and I want to know what the repercussions might be if I am arrested while enacting peaceful protest. Would I still be able to obtain licensure as a practitioner?
Ok. This is actually a really complicated question and the short answer is “IDK, it depends.”
I spoke with a friend who is currently earning his doctorate in psychology, who had an internship where he provided counseling in a mental health clinic. He does not have licensure, but his internship supervisor and all staff counselors (as opposed to internship counselors) also have licensure.
I also spoke with my sister, who has a masters in nursing and is a licensed nurse practitioner. Not the same, but similar enough for our purposes.
Both said you MUST report all convictions of misdemeanors or felonies. If you have charges filed but you don’t receive a conviction, you must also report that (though that may vary by location). Neither was clear on whether an arrest with no filed charges must be reported, so if you can, try to find someone local to you who would have a concrete answer about that.
Once you have disclosed your arrests and charges filed, it is up to the review board to determine whether your record will impact your ability to competently do your job. I imagine local politics and the individual biases of the board members would factor heavily into whether you actually can obtain your license, so see if you can find someone local to you who has that job under networking pretenses, so you can perhaps gauge how they feel about BLM and their protests.
If you find that you’re not willing to risk licensure in order to protest, don’t worry! You’re not a bad activist, and there’s plenty of other ways you can support BLM, both directly and indirectly.
Examples: Donate to local non-profits that support BLM or are run by BLM activists. Call and write to your local politicians and urge them to condemn police brutality and change police training tactics. See if there are any non-protest activities you can volunteer for, like a music festival that would benefit the cause. Donate directly to the families of police brutality victims - if you don’t see a fundraiser happening, try to reach out to the family directly and see if they’d like one organized.
EDIT: Right after posting this, I got another response with some great advice!
“Tell that person to reach out to Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU for advice on this. They’re both in the business of civil rights and might have some good insight on the subject.”