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Dear SCRA members:
On behalf of the SCRA executive committee (EC), I am sending an update on our deliberations and actions in response to the Call to Action on Anti-Blackness and white supremacy in SCRA.
Quick Summary. Two primary activities are described below: the formation of a temporary EC action team and a new plan to support member feedback and engagement related to the EC-proposed action plan released June 19. The plan includes 5 offerings:
1. Information sharing meetings paired with facilitated affinity group breakout discussions
2. Open feedback form
3. Written electronic updates on EC activities
4. Connection across councils, committees, and interest groups
5. Black and non-Black POC member Coffee Hours with POC members of Presidential Stream (Susan Torres-Harding & Bianca Guzman). Please note: meeting dates starting next week (Student-only space: 7/29; Students and non-students: 7/31)!
Please keep reading for more information!
Member Feedback and Engagement Action Team
The EC is committed to designing meaningful opportunities for member feedback and engagement as we work to transform our organization. As a body of 21 people, despite our best intentions, it can be difficult for the whole group to coordinate action effectively and efficiently. Therefore, we formed a smaller body of current EC members, the Member Feedback and Engagement Action Team. This group is made up of Council Representatives and a representative of the EC Officers (Kyrah Brown representing Practice Council, Simon Coulombe for CoE, Chris Keys representing the Research Council, Megan Renner representing Policy Council, Dominique Thomas representing CERA, and Lauren Lichty, SCRA Secretary, representing the Officers) and is responsible for coordinating our communications and processes in an effort to best respond to our membership guided by anti-racist, anti-oppressive facilitation practices. This group has been meeting for two weeks now, and will continue to meet weekly until other permanent bodies taking up anti-racist, anti-oppressive work are established in SCRA.
Member Feedback and Engagement Plan
Background & Purpose
To address anti-Blackness and white supremacy in SCRA, it is critical to engage the membership as full participants and agents of change. We are a member-driven professional organization that relies predominantly on unpaid labor/volunteerism; the leadership cannot and should not do this work alone. The action plan proposed by the EC was always imagined as a working document, not complete without broader member input. We are confident that our members will have insights and suggest changes to the proposed SCRA action plan that strengthen our work together.
Building a Responsive Participatory Feedback and Engagement Process
To support participation, we intend to provide multiple platforms for information sharing, answering questions, hearing member comments and suggestions, and hosting carefully facilitated dialogue. We recognize that within the membership we have individuals who are in different places with different needs and priorities regarding how we move forward. People may have different levels of understanding, readiness, and trust; thus, we need to identify different entry points where members can engage in dialogue and action.
Our goal is to create multiple opportunities and channels for individuals to engage in ways that feel best to them, while also recognizing that these needs and our offerings will evolve over time.
At this moment, our offerings focus on information sharing and feedback gathering as well as connection and support for Black and non-Black people of color. We acknowledge that we will not be able to meet everyone’s needs or requests. This is a good faith effort to maximize member engagement in shaping and implementing the many streams of this work. We anticipate that we will need to adjust and adapt as we move forward, with an eye toward anti-racist, anti-oppressive practices. We will continue to adjust this plan in response to new concerns that may come up, particularly as they relate to centering Black voices.
Below we present five strategies for member engagement. Some items are fairly straightforward while others require more detailed explanation. We are designing very intentional processes to address issues of power and interpersonal harm within our organization. Therefore, for some items you’ll see we note future communications will provide the details. We appreciate your patience as we move forward with care.
1) EC-hosted Information Sharing Meetings paired with Facilitated Affinity Group Breakout Discussion Groups. The purpose of these meetings is to provide more detailed information on the 10-point action plan proposed by the EC, and to provide facilitated breakout space for feedback and dialogue related to its specific components. More to come about the rationale, structure, and process for these spaces.
2) Open Feedback Form. Anyone at any time can share reflections, suggestions, or feedback related to the action plan using our feedback form. We will continue to monitor this form throughout the year. Feedback provided will help shape content in the information sharing meetings, digital updates, and FAQ resources.
3) Written Electronic Updates on EC Work. We plan to provide regularly scheduled updates to our membership, in order to increase transparency and accountability to the EC’s action planning. This email is the first in this series. We will post monthly updates regarding the EC’s progress on implementation of the plan and other relevant updates regarding the EC activities.
4) Connecting with Councils, Committees, and Interest Group (C/C/IG) Chairs. We recognize that dialogue and action about co-creating anti-racist and anti-oppressive spaces is already happening within SCRA bodies like councils, committees, and IGs. The EC action plan also explicitly addresses those settings as key to our organizational transformation. We want to promote shared learning across C/C/IGs, identify resources and supports, and create easy pathways for the C/C/IGs to provide feedback to the EC. More to come on the purpose, structure, and process for this work.
5) Community & Support: Black and non-Black People of Color (POC) Coffee Hour with Susan Torres-Harding and Bianca Guzman. The purpose of these recurring meetings is to provide more opportunities for building community and connections among Black and non-Black POC members with POC leaders of SCRA. In this space we will get to know each other, share challenges, identify resources, and celebrate successes from our professional and personal experiences. People can also use this space to provide feedback on our organization that can be brought to the EC for action. We will be hosting two recurring Coffee Hours - one for students only, another for all career levels. The first dates and times for both meetings are listed below.
Susan R. Torres-Harding, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology
President, APA Division 27: The Society for Community Research and Action
Director, PsyD program
430 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
The Society for Community Research and Action: www.scra27.org
Learn more about community psychology: www.communitypsychology.com