Volume 52   Number 4 Fall 2019

From the President

Notes from the President

Susan Torres-Harding, Roosevelt UniversitySTHPicture.jpg

Dear friends and colleagues:  I am so pleased to assume the presidency of SCRA, an organization that I have always considered as my professional home, and whose social justice and diversity-focused values have consistently framed my own career and everyday work. And, it was so wonderful to attend the SCRA biennial, which was hosted by National Louis University in Chicago, IL. This was an extremely well-attended biennial, and the busy sessions demonstrated the excitement and enthusiasm for sharing our work with each other. In attending the sessions, it seemed like there were many key ideas that were consistently presented and discussed in the sessions, including the importance of affirming our identities as community psychologists and community practitioners, the need to re-affirm our social justice values and integrate a social justice perspective into our work, and the need for diverse voices and ideas to become better integrated into the community psychology field and in SCRA itself.  

Additionally, many people at the biennial voiced challenges for our field and engaged in many discussions around action steps to work on solutions to these challenges. These challenges included supporting community practitioners, especially those who are lone community psychologists in their settings and communities, to do the hard work of community psychology all over the country and the world. Recently, the SCRA leadership development fellows have taken the initiative to develop a research study that will have as its ultimate goal to shed light on the needs, experiences, and career progress of these ‘lone’ psychologists.  

Another challenge is the need to continue to educate others around what community psychology is, and to integrate community psychology into the curriculum at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels to ensure the future growth and sustainability of our field.  The Council of Education had multiple sessions with a great deal of productive brainstorming and ideas, and I expect that this level of enthusiasm for strengthening training program will be incredibly beneficial for the future of our field. The new free, online undergraduate community psychology textbook is another endeavor that will help spread community psychology and which fits beautifully with the value of ‘giving psychology away.’

Finally, many people identified the need for SCRA to intensify action to address real crises in the world, including engaging in anti-racist, anti-oppression work, and a need for SCRA to take action on multiple fronts. To meet this goal, many people verbalized not only the need for SCRA to build upon existing advocacy strategies, but also to renew efforts to review our own organizational practices and engage in continued work to decolonialize our profession and CP knowledge, and to ensure that SCRA’s practices and structures affirm the inclusion, support, and voices of students and professionals of color in our field.  

The Council on Cultural, Ethnic, and Racial Affairs (CERA) has already done a great deal to develop an agenda to work for these important goals. The Diversity Statement that CERA developed and which is posted on our websites is an important first step in this endeavor. Additionally, we need to continue to strongly advocate against and oppose laws, societal practices, and policies that are wrong and incredibly harmful, such as the dehumanization, incarceration, and systemic violence being enacted against undocumented children, adults, and families at US borders. The Policy committee and many other SCRA groups and members are leading the charge to address the multiple humanitarian and environmental crises that continue to develop in the global community. Developing more responsive advocacy and social action will also be an important agenda to pursue in the coming year. I am very grateful for the loud voices and the enthusiasm and courage of our members who continue to speak up and push for justice and for real change.    

Susan Torres-Harding, Roosevelt University,