Spring 2016 Ethnic Minorities Section update

Ani Yazedjian, section chair

Note from the chair:

The panel discussion on social justice strategies for family professionals was one of the best-attended events at the 2015 annual conference. NCFR President Bill Allen provided this summary of the session, which was co-sponsored by the Ethnic Minorities Section and offered through Student and New Professionals.

"Social Justice Strategies of Family Researchers and Professionals in the Age of Ferguson" was one of the most thought-provoking sessions at the recent 2015 NCFR annual conference, which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. A standing-room-only audience heard a panel of NCFR members discuss, from diverse perspectives, their reactions to the string of events in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island, New York; and Cleveland, Ohio, in which unarmed Black men and boys were killed by police officers. A major objective of the session was to facilitate dialogue about how family scientists might contribute to the national debate about ways to reduce tensions between law enforcement and communities of color.

The panel moderator was Anthony James. The panelists included Dr. Antoinette Landor, University of Missouri (researcher); Dr. Bethany Letiecq, George Mason University (policy and educator); Dr. Bill Allen, Healing Bonds (couple and family therapist), and Dr. Curtis Fox, Loma Linda University (CFLE, practitioner). The session enjoyed broad co-sponsorship from several sections: Research & Theory, Feminism & Family Studies, Family Therapy, Ethnic Minorities, Family Policy, Religion, Spirituality & Family, and Advancing Family Science.

The panelists discussed how their work had been influenced by recent events and encouraged colleagues to consider how they might use current events as teachable moments to advance social justice in their work. These might include research and scholarship on families, classroom activities centered on family process, and professional practice with families. Although there was time for several questions from the audience after the panel discussion, most participants agreed that there was a need to follow up this session with similar dialogues at future conferences.

Editor's note: Listen to the audio recording of this session, open to all members and the general public, on the NCFR website.