The Community Psychologist

A Publication of the Society for Community Research and Action
Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Volume 51 Number 1 
Winter 2018

From the PresidentYolanda_Suarez.jpg

Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar

University of Illinois at Chicago

Challenging Times Call for Extraordinary Actions 

The first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March reminded me of the values that we stand for as a field and why we do what we do. Hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children marched and carried signs in cities all over the world. 


From the Editors  Dominique_Thomas.jpgSusan_Wolfe.jpg

Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates, and Dominique Thomas, Georgia State University,

We were honored to be selected as the TCP’s newest Editor and Associate Editor. We will begin by thanking Tiffany McDowell and Daniel Cooper for their support during the transition, and for their service to SCRA as the previous TCP editors. We would also like to thank Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Jean Hill, Anne Bogat, and Elizabeth Thomas for their encouragement, guidance, and support, as well as former editors Sylvie Taylor and Gregor Sarkisian for the very detailed document that outlines all of the processes and the wisdom of all of the past TCP editors.

We would like to invite the SCRA membership to engage with TCP in a number of ways. After all, this is YOUR publication. We are just the implementation team. First, email us with your ideas. We will be happy to set up a time to talk about them and move them forward. Second, contact your Committee Chairs and Interest Group chairs if you would like to submit columns. They are the column editors and you could really help them out. Third, while we would like everyone to submit their work, we think this is especially a good opportunity for students and early career members to write and publish their work. True, we are not peer reviewed, but, as editors, we will critique and edit your work like we are, and it will be good practice. We ask faculty to encourage your students to submit their work. We would like to promote work from up-and-coming scholars that is pushing community psychology in new and dynamic directions. Fourth, we would like to celebrate the accomplishments of everyone. Please send us accomplishments such as published papers/chapters, new jobs, and graduations. We want to recognize all of the great things that are happening in the field. And, finally, we would like to increase the content with special issues and discussion pieces. So please let us know if you are interested in participating as an author or section editor.

So, all of that said, we really hope to be overwhelmed with emails from all of you in 2018. Just drop us a note at!

Susan and Dominique

The Concept of Diversity - CERA’s Position

On February 2, 2018 SCRA’s Executive Committee (EC) motioned to approve and endorse the following document as SCRA’s Position Statement on Diversity, and how the organization will work toward the promotion and enactment of diversity within its organization structures (e.g., committees, councils, interest groups).

Defining Diversity

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect for the full range of human characteristics in their socioecological, historical, and cultural contexts, as well as understanding that each individual, family, community, and societal group has uniqueness that make them different from others. These differences include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, immigration status, educational background, geographical location, income, language, marital status, parental status, trauma exposure, and work experiences (CUNY, 2017). The concept of diversity does not mean equality, inclusion or pluralism, but is a separate concept, having its own set of values and practicing principles. However, diversity, equality, inclusion and pluralism are interrelated (Palmer & Watkins, 2018).  


Why Black History Matters for Community Psychology

Written by Dominique Thomas, Georgia State University,

February is Black History Month and for another year we use this month to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black people. But what importance does this have for community psychology? To explain, I will briefly discuss the origin of Black History Month and how history is passed down through generations. I will also discuss the benefits of knowing and being taught Black history. I will also touch on Black history’s relationship with community and conclude with highlighting Black contributions to psychology and society.

The Community Practitioner

Edited by Nicole Freund

Written by Olya Glantsman, DePaul University,

“My personal and career goal is to utilize my trainings and experiences to provide support to those whose voices go unheard.” – Amber E. Kelly

Amber E. Kelly, PhD, MS, MHS, is a community psychologist with a passion for taking a social ecological perspective to address issues that impact underserved populations. Currently she is an Adjunct Professor at National Louis University and a People’s Liberty grantee. Dr. Kelly’s experiences have ranged from evaluation research, community-based nonprofit work, international teaching, mental health research, and health disparities research. Until this past summer, Amber worked as a director of program evaluation and research at Cincinnati’s Beech Acres Parenting Center. Before the move to her hometown in Cincinnati, OH, Dr. Kelly worked as a director of evaluation at ChildServ and as a visiting research associate at the University at Chicago. What makes Amber’s career path unique and of special interest to many practitioners is that she has successfully navigated and balanced both the academic and practice domains of her work. Her approach has been to keep both hands in both arenas at the same time.  

Immigrant Justice

Edited by Fabricio Balcazar and Kevin Ferreira

New Immigrant Justice Interest Group

Written by Fabricio Balcazar, University of Illinois at Chicago,

I am pleased to announce the creation of a new interest group on Immigrant Justice at SCRA. The group was created after the last biennial conference, where a group of SCRA members organized a symposium to discuss immigration issues and strategies for action. I am co-chairing the group with Kevin Ferreira, a graduate student from Boston College. The group addresses the interests of many members to become more proactive on issues related to immigrants here in the US and Europe. This is an opportunity to call for action at the national level (advocating for policy changes regarding immigration issues), and State and local levels (encouraging members to engage in pro-immigrant activities and/or services at the local level, offering a forum for members to share their activities).

Regional Network News

Edited by Scot Evans – Regional Network Coordinator

I hope you are resolved in 2018 to get more involved in your SCRA region. Check out your SCRA region information on the website and contact the coordinators to see what is going on in your neck of the woods ( There are a lot of great things happening in our SCRA regions across the globe – check out the news.

Rural Interest Group

Casa Rurale: Harmony & Justice toward Agrarian Wellbeing

Written by Susana Helm, Rural.IG@scra27.orgUniversity of Hawai`i at Mānoa

In summer 2016 I had the pleasure of hiking several weeks and many kilometers along the Camino de Santiago with my youngest niece, which took us ambling through the rural countryside of Northern Spain (see TCP 2017, issue 50-1). As an extended family encore, summer 2017 was organized by a set of rural treks starting in May on Molokai with my older nephew who served as a note-taker and observer in rural health forums, and continued into June with another of my adventuresome nieces while we walked the trail that circumnavigates the glaciers of Mont Blanc, and later in August with my younger nephew as we camped along the Massachusetts stretch of the Appalachia Trail to its peak at Mt Greylock, and concluding in September da sola along La Via dei Monti Lariani, which straddles the pre-alpine ridge above Lago di Como along the Swiss-Italian border. The VDM is a set of interconnected mule tracks between hillside villages that range in altitude from about 600 to 1800 meters or so, primarily passing through steeply sloped grazing pastures and dense forests veiling both active and abandoned farmsteads. The VDM also intersects with and follows a number of former military tracks with defensive positions established during WWI. Furthermore, the trail passes through and nearby several villages where partigiani were instrumental in the surrender of Mussolini, and his assassination two days prior to Hitler’s death in 1945.


Self-Help Interest Group

Edited by Tehseen Noorani

Book review: Nembhard, J. G. (2014). Collective courage: A history of African American cooperative economic thought and practice. Penn State Press.

Written by Deidra Somerville, National Louis University

Editor's note: This issue's contribution from the SH interest group comes from Deidra Sommerville, PhD candidate in Community Psychology at National Louis University, who is interested in both historical and contemporary applications of African American mutual aid and self-help practices and their relationship to community organizing and development strategies. 


Transformative Community Mental Health Interest Group

The HOME_EU Project

Researching to End Homelessness in Europe

Written by Maria Vargas-Moniz, ISPA – IU, Lisboa Portugal and José Ornelas, ISPA – IU, Lisboa Portugal

The Home_EU: Reversing Homelessness in Europe Project ( is a Horizon 2020 research grant (2016-2019) to mainstream individualized, scattered and permanent Housing First programs as a social policy aimed at ending long-term homelessness that persisst in EU countries. This project was approved within a highly competitive grant line  ̶  only 2 out of 400 proposals were financed (  ̶  and it was structured and inspired in the community psychology principles and guidelines of participation, collaboration, promoting social justice, critical reflection, empowerment, and mastery (Kloos, Hill, Thomas, Wandersman, Elias, Dalton, 2012; Ornelas, 2008).