Report from the Vice President of Diversity and Public Interest Committee
Submitted by Anneliese A. Singh, Ph.D.
Each time I write this newsletter column for the Vice President of Diversity and Public Interest Committee, there are new multicultural and social justice concerns to address. I am sure that many of you have experienced helplessness and hopelessness as we see these concerns continue to morph, shift, and reflect the existence of oppression and injustice in our world. I have shared these feelings as well, and I must say I also feel more hopeful than ever about the unique values and training we have as counseling psychologists to provide leadership on these issues. Here are a few reasons I feel hope about what we are doing and what we can do about these social justice concerns:
- The More Pie discussion at APA in Toronto was vibrant, dynamic, and full of stories of how 17 members were leading and speaking out against APA and torture and making change in their communities. As the largest More Pie discussion I have seen at recent APA conventions, many folks joined the Vice President of Diversity and Public Interest Committee and have continued their multicultural and social justice efforts grounded in counseling psychologist values.
- As a Vice President of Diversity and Public Interest Committee, we initially began submitting statements on social justice concerns and current events. Now, over the recent months, I have seen statements issued by our counseling psychology students, early career professionals, and our members of other APA divisions and organizations outside of APA.
- The Black Lives Matter movement is not only sustaining itself, but there has been real social justice change as a result of these activist interventions (e.g., Missouri). More than ever before, this movement will not be silent about the injustices that occur towards Black men and communities and other communities of color, as well as how White allies can be involved. Many counseling psychologists, especially students, have been providing leadership in these movements.
- Trans concerns and rights are taking center stage of many conversations and actions nationally and internationally. And yes, not only because of Caitlyn Jenner. Activists within and outside of our division have called for more responsive and affirmative care for trans people, and counseling psychologists have been leading this charge within APA with the new APA-adopted Psychological Practice Guidelines for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients in August of 2015. Trans activists have also called for increased attention to trans women of color and the high rates of murders of this community as well.
- The Division 17 listserv is alive and active more than I have seen in the last decade in the discussion of multicultural and social justice concerns – from everything ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to 17’s advocacy with APA and torture. This type of activity and discussion is critically important to help support us all in how we may act in our own local communities to address injustice. I believe our Vice President of Diversity and Public Interest Committee is here to jump in when there are issues that are not being addressed in terms of multicultural and social justice issues, and the division right now is having important discussions amongst ourselves.
And it is also important to acknowledge, if we enact our lived counseling psychology values of multiculturalism and social justice, then we will feel grief, discouragement, and other similar feelings from time to time before we are able to feel hope and take action again. Regardless of where you are right now, I would invite you to join the More Pie listserv to stay plugged into these conversations. To join the More Pie listserv, please do the following:
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of your email, include your name, email address, and indicate your Division 17 Membership Status as shown below. Share that you would like to join the D17 More Pie Initiative Listserv: email@example.com
In addition, I would welcome you to join our committee members:
Dan Walinsky, Jasmin Llamas, Niyatee Ackerman, Muninder Ahluwalia, Theo Burnes, Janie Pinterits, and for generously serving on this committee – you each inspire me daily. I would also like to welcome Saba Ali, Candice Crowell, Todd Ryser-Oatman, and Amy Reynolds to our committee and who all bring tremendous commitments and solid track records as a social change agent! Thank you to lore dickey for his efforts on our committee the past year. Finally, many thanks to past President Michael Mobley for his unwavering support of our committee efforts and for his leadership.
If you would like to join in the work of this committee, some of the projects we have talked about include increasing competence with trans* clients within counseling psychology, as well as compiling teaching and learning resources related to multicultural and social justice implications related to recent events and keeping the discussion going about events that tend to fall in to past memory. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate in this committee, or offer feedback about what is needed related to multiculturalism and social justice in Division 17. We greatly value your perspectives and ideas!
Tags: APA Convention, Diversity and Social Justice, Race Ethnicity, Transgender