Social Justice Advocacy Topics & Issues


DEFINITIONS

  • Advocacy: “The act of speaking up or taking action to make environmental changes on behalf of clients.” “Advocacy counselors must have an appreciation for suffering and a desire to alleviate that suffering. They must have compassion, sensitivity, and empathy for their clients, and they must be committed to improving the circumstances and enhancing the growth of their clients.”
  • Oppression (intersectional oppression): “The use of power to disempower, marginalize, silence, or otherwise subordinate one social group or category, often in order to further empower and/or privilege the oppressor.”
  • Social Justice: “The goal to decrease human suffering and to promote human values of equality and justice.”

TIMELINE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK IN COUNSELING AND COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY 

1908: Clifford Beers and his autobiography A Mind That Found Itself: An Autobiography set off the Mental Hygiene Movement. He told his story through his experiences in multiple psychiatric hospitals, where he attempted to raise awareness on the brutal nature of those systems.

1908: Frank Parsons founded Vocational Bureau whose purpose was to provide vocational guidance to out- of-school youth in the immigrant neighborhoods of the greater Boston area. Parsons was a tireless advocate for immigrant families. The model of vocational counseling he developed became the foundation on which modern career counseling is based.

1932: George Sanchez challenged the validity of using culturally biased standardized intelligence tests with Black and Hispanic people.

1930s: Karen Horney challenged the psychoanalytic establishment to recognize the effects of a male-dominated society on the psychological well-being of women.

1968: The Association of Black Psychologists was founded because of APA's failure to address the mental health needs of the Black community. 

1991: Lawrence Gerstein devoted himself to helping Tibetan people through an ongoing crisis. He steered the International Tibet Independence Movement to raise awareness for the wrongdoings happening in Tibet.

2012: Black Lives Matter movement was created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in response to the lack of conviction for George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's murderer. 


LISTING OF SOCIAL OPPRESSIONS

RaceA group of people that share some socially defined physical characteristics, for instance, skin color, hair texture, or facial features (Recognizing Race and Ethnicity: Power, Privilege, and Inequality by Kathleen Fitzgerald)

EthnicityA group of people that share a culture, nationality, ancestry, and/or language (Recognizing Race and Ethnicity: Power, Privilege, and Inequality by Kathleen Fitzgerald)

SexA biological quality or classification of sexually-reproducing organisms, generally female, male, and/or intersex, according to functions that derive from the chromosomal complement, reproductive organs, or specific hormones or environmental factors that affect the expression of phenotypic traits that are strongly associated with females or males within a given species.

GenderRefers to sociocultural attitudes and behaviors that shape behaviors, products, technologies, environments, and knowledges.

Sexual OrientationAn enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Age

Socioeconomic StatusThe social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation.

National Origin 

First Language

Physical, Emotional, Developmental (Dis)Ability 

Religious or Spiritual Affiliation


TOOLS FOR HOW WE CAN ENGAGE IN ADVOCACY

Race/Ethnicity


Sexuality/LGBTQ+


Sex/Gender


Age


Religious/Spiritual Affiliation


Socioeconomic Status


Ability


National Origin


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

LGBTQ 


RACE

News Articles
TED Talks
Magazine Articles
Podcasts


SEX/GENDER


AGE 


RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL AFFILIATION


SES


ABILITY

NATIONAL ORIGIN | IMMIGRATION

Journal Articles