Tag Archives: Advocacy

What Can I Do to Help? A Starter Kit for Effective Allyship

AllyIt is a time of turmoil and dramatic change in the United States. This is reflected in divisive executive orders, the rise in hate crimes, and hate rhetoric targeted at marginalized groups.

So what can you do? This article calls on psychologists and psychologists-in-training to use their expertise and privilege to combat prejudice and discrimination as well as promote inclusion across the spectrum of diverse identities.

Continue reading

Will I ever get paid overtime? Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), established in 1938, is a federal law that regulates overtime pay, minimum wage, child labor, and recordkeeping. This past Spring, the U.S. Department of Labor approved a proposal to increase the salary threshold to qualify for FLSA standards, meaning anyone working full-time and making less than $47,476 will qualify for FLSA benefits. The new salary threshold was expected to go into effect December 1, 2016; however, it was recently blocked by a Texas judge. Although this ruling has been halted, we want to keep APAGS members informed as to how its roll-out will affect them should this injunction be dismissed. Below we answer some of the biggest questions about the proposed FLSA changes to help you stay informed.

Continue reading

Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Guest columnist: James Hornback, Alliant University, California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), Class of 2017

What social identities do you currently identify as most central to you?

James… being African American, Gay, and Older are only three parts of the factors that make me who I am, so I prefer my social identity to be summed up as simply James.

Describe one challenge you’ve experienced in graduate school related to intersecting identities. How did you navigate it and what did you learn from the experience?

The most challenging aspect of my experience in graduate school has not been my ethnicity or sexual orientation, but my age. I will soon be fifty-four years old, which has placed me in an entirely different segment, not only in my cohort, but also in my campus’ student population.  I make my age an open acknowledged difference between myself and my fellow students, pointing out that I have life experiences that shape my perceptions, both in class and out, that color my interactions. It’s actually become, for the most part, a non-issue and a learning experience for everyone involved; including the professors who may be younger, older or relatively of my age. It keeps things interesting!

How have you found support and spaces to talk about your intersecting identities as they relate to graduate school and your quality of life?

I put myself out there. I am out about my sexual orientation and I cannot hide my ethnicity, and I’m outspoken. I stand up for myself and about issues within the department that hinder our ability to achieve our goals, and push for active participation in multicultural and social justice based causes.

 

Editor’s Note: This column is part of a series highlighting the experiences of students and professionals with diverse intersecting identities and was created by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Are you interested in sharing about your own navigation of intersecting identities in graduate school? We would be happy to hear from you! To learn more, please contact Heather Dade.

Check out previous posts in this series:

 

Advocacy in the Wake of National Tragedy

Quite some time has passed since the tragedies in Orlando, St. Paul, and Baton Rouge.  All of these incidents included violence toward traditionally marginalized groups.  For those of us with privileged identities or psychological distance from the events, much of the emotional toll may seem “in the past.”  For those of us without such privilege, however, the emotional labor has not ceased.  We write this post with the belief that, if we are to successfully ward off the threat of callousness and acceptance of unthinkable violence, we must meet our emotional expenditure with direct action.

Much has been written already on the complex feelings many of us within APAGS have experienced in the wake of the Orlando shooting (e.g. here and here) as well as the shooting of unarmed black men in St. Paul and Baton Rouge (see here).  The specific identities of those targeted marks these tragedies as incidents with much larger sociopolitical implications.  They represent both a deep personal trauma which must be addressed at the individual microlevel (with peers, with clients, on our listservs, within our families) as well as a national crisis that must be addressed at the systemic macrolevel.

Thus, in addition to the many resources regarding steps to be taken at interpersonal and community levels (The Community Healing Network has a great resource list, and another compiled by Skyler Jackson can be found here), in this post, we hope to provide resources regarding the legislative issues this tragedy touches upon.

Racial & Religious Discrimination

National tragedies such as Baton Rouge, St. Paul, & Orlando frequently touch upon many issues of racial and religious inequities in the U.S.; including Latinx rights, Black rights, Islamophobia, immigration reform, and racial profiling.  APA has a long legacy of opposing discrimination based on race and ethnicity (see APA’s 2001 resolution), and has taken actions on racial profiling, deportation, and immigration reform.  APA has also taken a strong stance on the need for religious freedom and tolerance (see here).  More information about policing in communities of color can also be found here.

Given APA’s strong voice on these issues, it behooves psychologists, as the 2001 resolution states, to “…speak out against racism, and take proactive steps to prevent the occurrence of intolerant or racist acts.”  To see a list of current legislative and community-based initiatives through APA you can take part in, check out APA’s ethnic minority affairs website.

Hate Crime Prevention & Gun Control Legislation

The APA strongly emphasizes primary (i.e. universal) intervention strategies to address violence, with an emphasis on multi-systemic involvement.  Strategies derived from the Task Force on the Prevention of Gun Violence , for example, focus on including mental health professionals and law enforcement in collaborative effort with one another to reduce risk of violence.  These include such things as addressing maladaptive expressions of masculinity through violence from at-risk males.

APA has also called for the expansion of funding for National Violent Death Reporting System to ensure that vital data is collected surrounding the tragic fatalities of violent acts.  If violence prevention and gun control legislation is something you are passionate about, one way to make your voice heard is through supporting “common sense” gun laws through a quick letter to congress.

LGBTQ+ Rights & Homophobia

APA has been a strong proponent of LGBTQ+ rights ever since Evelyn Hooker’s 1956 Annual Convention presentation.  In her speech, Dr. Hooker challenged the view that homosexual people were inherently less mentally healthy than their heterosexual peers (see here).  Since that time, APA has recognized that state-sponsored limits on LGBTQ+ freedoms (for example limiting basic parental, marriage, and legal recourse rights) not only dehumanize LGBTQ+ persons but also tacitly legitimize discrimination against them.

Recently, APA has been in strong favor of H.R. 3185 and S. 1858, also known as the Equality Act. As a bit of background, ‘H.R.’ stands for ‘House of Representatives’ while ‘S.’ stands for ‘Senate.’  In order to become law, a bill must be passed in both the House and the Senate, and thus often gets two separate identifying numbers (because debate and revisions occur on both the House and the Senate sides these bills often look slightly different from one another).  As of this writing, the Equality Act has been referred to the relevant subcommittees/committees in both the House and the Senate.   As such, stay tuned and take part in this and other relevant initiatives by registering for APA’s Federal Action Network (FAN).

Overall Advocacy Resources

If you are interested in the intersection between psychology and advocacy more generally, a great resource and manual has been provided here.  In addition, you can sign up to receive regular updates about APA “action alerts;” which are immediate steps you can take (often requiring less than 30 seconds) to have your voice heard on issues that you care most about.  You can sign up for such action alerts by going to: http://cqrcengage.com/apapolicy/home.  As an aside, we promise that the Federal Advocacy Network is not a ‘spam’ listserv. We’ve always received important and timely updates from the Action Network, and have heard back innumerable times from senators and representatives about letters we specifically sent through the network.

Conclusion: Stand Up!

APA itself has a strong history of advocacy in these realms.  As Amalia Corby-Edwards—Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer with APA’s Public Interest Directorate—states, “APA has been lobbying on these issues for years […] going forward, we’ll likely redouble these efforts, and think about new approaches.”  As Corby-Edwards identifies, national tragedies both highlight longstanding societal problems and can hopefully serve as a catalyst for intensified legislative efforts.

As the saying goes, the “personal is political,” and relating our own experiences with larger social issues is not only therapeutic, it can help promote real change.  If you feel inspired or interested in joining like-minded advocacy peers, please consider becoming a campus representative with the Advocacy Coordinating Team by going to our homepage, http://www.apa.org/apags/governance/subcommittees/act.aspx.

Authors: Jeritt R. Tucker, Chair & Trevor Bixler, Regional Advocacy Coordinator, North Central Region, APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT)

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post represent the exclusive views of the authors and not necessarily those of APA or APAGS.

#NotMyPresident – Anti-Racism Activism Under a Trump Presidency

Open Letter to Graduate Students in Psychology:

Protesters hold signs during a protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Protesters hold signs during a protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

On November 9, 2016, we woke up to a new era in modern American politics. Not since the presidential campaign of pro-segregation proponent George Wallace in 1968 have racial and ethnic intolerance been expressed so openly and vehemently by a presidential candidate. Donald Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “drug dealers,” questioned the impartiality of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel due to his Mexican ancestry, and called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. He also proclaimed that African-Americans and Latinos are “living in hell,” reinforcing negative stereotypes and ignoring the vibrancy that exists in both communities. Indeed, Donald Trump has a long history of racist remarks and attitudes. Trump also repeatedly made misogynistic statements that denigrated and demeaned women, and was caught boasting about sexual assault. Despite these infractions, Donald Trump became the President-Elect of the United States.

The work of activists is needed now more than ever. As is evident from the recent wave of hate crimes across the United States, bigots are emboldened as a result of Trump’s victory, and Black and Brown lives are at great risk. The APA Ethics Code calls on us to promote the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom psychologists work. The code also calls on psychologists to “respect and protect the civil and human rights” of our clients. When the welfare of our clients is jeopardized by racial discrimination, we are called to stand up and seek justice on their behalf.

With this in mind, we are calling for a national dialogue titled “#NotMyPresident – Anti-Racism Activism Under a Trump Presidency,” to take place at 5:00 p.m. CST on January 17, 2017.

Continue reading