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Bring Back our Girls. (Source: Studio d’Xavier on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Enough is enough

Justice for Mike Brown Anti-Police Brutality Silent Protest in front of the White House on Saturday, August 16. (Source: Elvert Barnes on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Justice for Mike Brown: Anti-Police Brutality Silent Protest, in front of the White House on Saturday, August 16. (Source: Elvert Barnes on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

I am 17 years old and I know that I have a bright future ahead of me. The only thing I don’t know is if it’ll be taken away from me by authority figures such as the police.

Oscar Grant was in the midst of changing his life around but the new future he had was stripped by BART police.

Eric Garner was a loving dad who lost his life in a chokehold performed by a group of NYPD officers.

Ezell Ford had a promising future but was shot down by LAPD officers.

We all know about Rodney King and his beating.

Michael Brown would have been educating himself at college this week but he didn’t get to take a single class.

At some point our nation needs to really think about the bigger picture at hand. The race issue is indeed an issue but the bigger issue is not white against black; the bigger issue is right against wrong. I feel that the world that we live in is very wicked if we cannot feel protected by those who are supposed to “serve and protect us.” How many more people have to be killed for us to see that injustice exists? How many tears have to be shed for us to see that something is wrong?

 How many more people have to be killed for us to see that injustice exists?

Beautiful lives have been taken away by ugly spirits and to add insult to injury, little consequences have been ordered for those responsible. In fact, officers receive administrative leave for killing innocent souls. That’s the scariest thing to me.

But we must not act out of emotion — that’s exactly when we see our opinions ignored. It seems to me that the only way to get something changed in America is through litigation. We must come up with laws that allow us to hold the murderers of innocent lives accountable.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words ring deeply true to me: “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

We have been asking for justice since 1619 when slavery came to America.  All I’m asking for is peace and harmony for ethnic minorities.

Editor’s note: Damani Jasper’s opinion piece is a powerful example of how young men of color are affected by Michael Brown’s shooting. APAGS readers might find these links helpful:

APAGS High School Fellow Damani Jasper outside of a Senate hearing on student debt. Damani aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon. He completed a fellowship at APA and previously blogged about student debt.


A name change for a new era

Since its inception in 1992, the APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) has been dedicated to representing and advocating for the perspectives and concerns of ethnic minority graduate students studying psychology. Twenty two years later, we’ve maintained this focus while also promoting diversity and cultural sensitivity among all graduate students, reflecting an overall change within the field.

The group formerly known as the APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, at their May 2014 business meeting in Washington, DC. Blog post author Jasmin Llamas is second from the left in the back row. (Source: Andrew Tesoro, used with permission.)

Staying attuned to these changes, APAGS-CEMA has also noted a gradual shift away from the term “minority.” Ethnic minority numbers are rising in the U.S. yet individuals  continue to remain socially disadvantaged. While the term minority is not necessarily intended to denote population size or inferiority, there has been a push by many in the field away from this term:

  • Division 45, formerly the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, recently responded to feedback from their members by voting in a new name: The Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race.
  • Even in the 2012 revision of APAGS-CEMA’s mission, the term minority is notable absent; our mission now is “to promote a psychology pipeline that is representative of the nation’s ethnic diversity and foster culturally relevant and adaptive science and practice in psychology.”

Given this movement, APAGS-CEMA engaged in a lengthy discussion as to whether our current name best reflects our mission and the real work we do. We struggled with wanting a more empowering description for our committee, while also ensuring that we represent the social disadvantage of several populations.  As a committee, we generated several possible names but immediately knew when we had found “the one” that truly captures the spirit and intent of our committee. We presented our new name to our APAGS full committee for a formal vote, which was unanimously approved. Responses to our new name included, “Brilliant,” “Awesome,” “Thumbs up,” and “This encapsulates the identity of the committee and will continue to move it forward.”

With such resounding support, I am thrilled to present on behalf of APAGS the Committee for the Advancement of Racial & Ethnic Diversity, which we are fondly referring to as CARED! Our website will soon reflect our new name, but we wanted you to hear it here first!

 I am thrilled to present the Committee for the Advancement of Racial & Ethnic Diversity – or CARED.

CARED hopes you are as excited with this new change as we are and hope you feel CARED for as we continue to serve you and promote diversity within our field. Have you been CARED for lately? We are here for you! Truly, we invite all students to reach out to us if we can support your graduate training in some way. If you are interested in getting involved with CARED, feel free to contact me.


llamas-headshotEditor’s note: Jasmin Llamas is the 2012-2014 Chair of APAGS-CARED. She is currently an intern at University of California – San Francisco and doctoral student in UC-Santa Barbara’s combined doctoral program in counseling, clinical, and school psychology. Jasmin will begin a professorship this fall at Santa Clara University.