The Community Psychologist

A Publication of the Society for Community Research and Action
Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Volume 53 Number 3

Summer 2020

From the President

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Currently as of this writing, the executive committee (EC) and I have acknowledged and taken up the challenge of responding to the open letter calling for changes to the organizational leadership and structure of SCRA to address white supremacy and integrate anti-racist action into our organization. This comes as part of the challenge and long overdue work in the U.S. to undo systemic and institutionalized racism and racial violence that has long jeopardized the lives and well-being of Black people. The murders of George Floyd and many others in recent days is, unfortunately, part of our continuing legacy of pain and oppression that everyone in our society needs to take responsibility to change. In particular, the call in both the letter and also in general in our society is for all people, especially non-Black people of color and White people, to engage in deep self-reflection regarding our part in enduring systems of oppression, and to take up the responsibility for change, both now and into the future. The many communications occurring on the listserv, including the calls for action, and organizing with our own communities, demonstrate that our members care deeply about working for real change, both with and external
to SCRA. Many of our members are actively engaged in doing so not only within SCRA but also within our own communities and within our professional and personal lives. As painful and difficult as this work is, I am glad to see the ideas and calling in amongst each other to do this work, and to also figure out how to effectively take collective action.

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From the Editors

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Dominique Thomas, Associate Editor

We are in a time of significant social, economic, and political upheaval. Members of the Society have been wondering how community psychology can serve as a force for positive social change during this time. How can SCRA serve the number of marginalized communities most affected by the both COVID-19 and racial capitalism manifesting as anti-Blackness and police brutality? A group of members drafted a letter to SCRA members and leadership calling for action to address anti-Blackness. In the midst of protests and rebellions across the world in response to police killings of Black people, we have seen the national conversation shift. Calls to defund the police, once considered fringe, are now serious political options with Minneapolis City Council voting to disband the Minneapolis Police Department. We have seen other symbols fall as the state of Mississippi voted to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag and create a new flag. Are we seeing meaningful progress? If so, we can keep the momentum happening here as well. Our next issue/special issue will be devoted to answering these questions and moving towards progress.

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Special Feature: COVID 19 and Its Impact on SCRA Members

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates, LLC

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all SCRA members throughout the world. At best, it kept some of us  home for a time. At worst, some of us have lost friends, colleagues, and family members. It has disrupted our work and our social relationships. The health and economic impact will be felt for a long time. It has highlighted the holes in some of our safety nets. In the U.S. and other countries, the disparities regarding who is affected and how they are affected has clearly displayed racial, ethnic, and economic inequities. Those of us who have been privileged to safely work from home while our refrigerators and cupboards are full can certainly no longer deny just how privileged we are. And this is not over yet.

This special feature includes a collection of articles from SCRA members sharing their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, personally and professionally.

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The Community Practitioner

Edited by Olya Glantsman and Mayra Guerero, DePaul University with Tajauna Biloche, ONE Northside 

SUPPORTING THE EMPOWERMENT OF COMMUNITIES

Written by Olya Glantsman & Mariajosé Paton

HISTORY

Dominica McBride, the founder and CEO of BECOME, has a PhD in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Consultation from Arizona State University. Dr. McBride is an award-winning evaluator and champion of Culturally Responsive Evaluation. Drawing on her own experience growing up surrounded by injustice and oppression, Dr. McBride founded BECOME to support the empowerment of communities and their members.

Critical Community Psychology Interest Group

Written by Natalie Kivell, Wilfird Laurier University; Chris Sonn, Victoria University; and Scot Evans, University of Miami

Hello SCRA Community! 

We are excited to launch our Critical Community Psychology (CCP) Interest Group Column in this edition of the TCP! The CCP Interest Group, launched in early 2019, came to be after the meeting of global Critical CP minds; led by our beloved Tod Sloan. As a precursor to creating our group, we - Natalie Kivell, Christopher Sonn, Scot Evans, and Louis-Phillipe Côté - joined Tod for many intellectually stimulating and generally earth shaking video conversations, and we started to articulate the benefits of bringing together globally situated and critically oriented scholars in CP to connect and grow our collective critical scholarship and practice. It is our hope that as we collectively nurture and develop this network of scholar-activists, that we will be positioned to build a strong and connected foundation of critical scholarship within the field of Community Psychology. Our use of the term “critical” is intentionally broad and inclusive of liberation psychology as well as decolonial, queer, radical, feminist, antiracist, and intersectional approaches in our research, teaching, and practice. 

Environment and Justice

Edited by Manuel Riemer, Wilfrid Laurier University

Making Our Biennial More Green and Socially Just by Going Hybrid - Not Just During COVID-19 Times

Written by Kai Reimer-Watts, Wilfrid Laurier University; Manuel Riemer, Wilfrid Laurier University; Carlie D. Trott, University of Cincinnati

There are times when reality gets ahead of even the most well-planned intentions. This is a story much like that. Back in Fall 2019 (a world ago now) a small group of SCRA members began work on what we were then calling a ‘Virtual Conference Attendance Toolkit’, one of several action projects led by SCRA’s Environment and Justice Interest Group (EJIG). Our early reasons for initiating this project were fairly straightforward: academic conferences often include a significant ecological footprint, which is made up in part by the significant emissions impact of people traveling to get to them. A virtual attendance option could help to reduce these emissions, while offering the added benefit of making the conference more accessible to those otherwise unable to attend in person. Despite these benefits, many virtual options for conferences continue to be experienced (and perceived) as second-rate compared to physically being there, making them unappealing to many. We wanted to explore if there were ways to offer virtual attendance that could augment and perhaps even expand on the on-site, physical experience – nurturing more equitable processes, experiences and access – rather than being treated as a sub-par substitute. These questions were being explored, slowly and methodically, by a few members of our broader Interest Group, with the intention of proposing a hybrid conference with a strong virtual option for the 2021 SCRA Biennial - when all of a sudden, COVID-19 happened.

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International Committee

Researching the Global Development of Community Psychology and Other Community Development-Related Fields

Written by Douglas D. Perkins, M. Reha Ozgurer, and Dominique A. Lyew, Vanderbilt University; Nikolay Mihaylov, Medical University Varna, Bulgaria; Akhenaten Benjamin Siankam Tankwanchi, U. Washington-Seattle & Global Health Consultant, Cape Town, South Africa; Liping Yang, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China; Yong Zhang, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

The mission of SCRA’s International Committee is “to support and promote communication and interaction among community psychologists and practitioners from all nations, facilitate the dissemination of research and programs developed outside the United States, and foster involvement of community psychologists from around the world in SCRA” (SCRA27.org). The Committee is a good resource for international members of SCRA and Biennial Conference attendees, but how do we promote the above goals without full knowledge of where in the world community psychologists are trained and working? To passively assume all community psychologists in every country have already engaged with SCRA would be, not only insular and hubristic, but contrary to fundamental community psychology principles!

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Prevention and Promotion

Edited by Susana Helm, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

The Prevention & Promotion (P&P) IG column of The Community Psychologist highlights P&P resources as well as the P&P work of community psychologist and allied professionals. We invite submissions from SCRA members, from people who present on P&P topics during SCRA and other conferences; and from leading and emergent scholars, including students. Please refer your colleagues and friends in academia and beyond to our interest group and column. Please email me if you would like to submit a brief report or if you have resources we may list here.

Mahalo to Crystal Steltenpohl from the University of Southern Indiana for celebrating on the SCRA listserv last November 2019 about the work of her CP undergrads. In my role as column editor, I inquired about her interest in submitting a co-authored piece with her students to share more about the evolution of their mental health promotion project, as well as their reflections on the experience.

Prevention & Promotion IG Co-Chairs:  Toshi SasaoKayla DeCantSusana Helm.

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Regional Network News

Edited by Christina Smith, University of Chicago and National Louis University – Regional Network Coordinator

News From the Midwest Region U.S.

Midwest Regional Coordinators

When‌ ‌One‌ ‌Door‌ ‌Closes‌ ‌New‌ ‌Opportunity‌ ‌Opens:‌ ‌The‌ ‌First‌ ‌Virtual‌ ‌MPA‌ ‌Conference‌ 

Written ‌by‌ ‌Amber‌ ‌Kelly 
 
On‌ ‌an‌ ‌annual‌ ‌basis‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌professionals‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌field‌ ‌of‌ ‌community‌ ‌psychology‌ ‌present‌ 
their‌ ‌work‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Midwestern‌ ‌Psychological‌ ‌Association;‌ ‌however,‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌COVID-19,‌ ‌the‌ ‌in-person‌ 
meeting‌ ‌was‌ ‌canceled.‌  
 
A‌ ‌passionate‌ ‌team‌ ‌decided‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌on‌ ‌moving‌ ‌the‌ ‌conference‌ ‌to‌ ‌an‌ ‌online‌ ‌format‌ ‌as‌ ‌opposed‌ ‌to‌ 
accepting‌ ‌the‌ ‌cancellation.‌ ‌Community‌ ‌Engagement‌ ‌Collective,‌ ‌Society‌ ‌for‌ ‌Community‌ ‌Research‌ 
and‌ ‌Action,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Midwestern‌ ‌Psychological‌ ‌Association‌ ‌collaborated‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌MPA‌ ‌SCRA‌ 
Virtual‌ ‌Conference.‌ ‌The‌ ‌endeavor‌ ‌required‌ ‌consistent‌ ‌planning‌ ‌and‌ ‌swift‌ ‌movement‌ ‌because‌ 
other‌ ‌conferences‌ ‌could‌ ‌potentially‌ ‌conflict.‌ ‌Timing‌ ‌was‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌essence.‌ ‌The‌ ‌dedication‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ 
planning‌ ‌team‌ ‌Amber‌ ‌Kelly,‌ ‌Tonya‌ ‌Hall,‌ ‌Chris‌ ‌Smith,‌ ‌Moshood‌ ‌Olanrewaju,‌ ‌Jean‌ ‌Hill,‌ ‌Susan‌ 
Torres-Harding,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Michael‌ ‌Bernstein‌ ‌helped‌ ‌to‌ ‌steer‌ ‌the‌ ‌conference‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌direction.‌ 

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Rural Interest Group

Edited by Susana Helm, PhD, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

The Rural IG column of The Community Psychologist highlights rural resources as well as the work of community psychologist and allied professionals in their rural environments. We invite submissions from Rural IG members, from people who present on rural topics during SCRA and other conferences; and from leading and emergent rural scholars. Please refer your colleagues and friends in academia and beyond to our interest group and column. Please email me if you would like to submit a brief report or if you have resources we may list here.

Mahalo to Rural IG Co-Chair Suzanne Philips for recommending the work of her New Hampshire colleague. Jessica Carson is a Sociologist and Assistant Professor in the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University Of New HampshireShe currently is “working on a long-term project around the challenges and opportunities facing people who live and work in rural communities, with the goal of highlighting the strategies that work best to support them.”

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Student Issues 

Edited by Joy Agner, University of Hawai’i at Manoa & Camilla Cummings, DePaul University

Examining Processes of Resilience Among Black Youth: A Youth Participatory Action Research Approach

Written by Nickholas Grant, M.A. & Helen Neville, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

As a recipient of the SCRA Student Research Grant award, I have made significant progress on my dissertation research that is focused on examining processes of resilience among Black youth who face violence in their communities. Black youth and communities continuously show strength despite various adversities, such as violence, and can sustain their well-being and adapt. Researchers often refer to this phenomenon as resilience. Most resilience studies on Black youth who face violence, however, adopt an outcome-based approach that focuses primarily on reduced psychological outcomes in the face of risk. This approach decontextualizes Black youths’ experiences and perspective and provides little understanding of community strengths and resources as indicators of resilience (i.e., community resilience). Given the lack of youth perspective in resilience research, there is also little theoretical guidance on resilience processes that Black youth view as important in their communities.

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SCRA Member Spotlight

Edited by Dominique Thomas, Associate Editor

The SCRA Member Spotlight lets us engage our members and highlight great work! Each issue we solicit submissions of accomplishments. We especially would like students, early career scholars, and practitioners to submit their accomplishments and work. Submissions can include but are certainly not limited to:

  • New jobs
  • Post-docs
  • Promotions
  • Thesis/Dissertation Defenses
  • Newly published journal articles, books, chapters
  • Podcasts, blogs, news items that are by or about you
  • Certifications or other credentials
  • Retirement
  • Grants
  • Awards
  • Successful/ongoing projects
  • New projects or community initiatives

If you are interested in submitting for the next issue, please click this link and fill out the form. We hope to hear from you!

From Our Members

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates

"Walk the Talk:" Bringing Community Psychology to Life in the American Evaluation Association

Written by Michelle Abraczinskas, University of Florida; Brittany Cook, The Wandersman Center; Ijeoma Izeofor, TCC Group; Jonathan Scaccia, The Wandersman Center, and the CP TIG Leadership Team

The purpose of this article is to share information with SCRA members about the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) Topical Interest Group (TIG) in Community Psychology (CP), and their annual “Walk the Talk” (WTT) event at the AEA conference. In providing this information, we hope we will attract more CP-evaluators to the TIG and WTT.

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SCRA News

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates

SCRA Election Results

President-Elect: Susan M. Wolfe

Susan brings a breadth of experience in community psychology and SCRA governance; leadership skills, energy, and time; working relationships with a broad range of members; and skills to operationalize good ideas. Her goal is to increase and broaden membership and activate many now-inactive members to lend their talents and viewpoints (including dissident ones) to our organization.

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