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Join Us For The
19th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action
Where Do We Go From Here? Dreaming New Community Futures
June 20-24 2023, Atlanta, Georgia
Hosted by Morehouse College
There will not be onsite registration or one day registration option.
SCRA Biennial Program Draft (1st author only)
6/14/23 @ 6pm EST
Ryan Gravel, AICP, is an urban designer, author, and speaker – an entrepreneur working on ideas about the future of cities. His master’s thesis in 1999 was the original vision for the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile transit greenway that with twenty years of progress, is changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there. Now a $4 billion public-private investment in the early stages of implementation, the project’s health and economic benefits are already evident through record-breaking use of its first section of mainline trail and over $7 billion of private sector redevelopment since 2005.
Ryan has received numerous awards and press related to his work on the Atlanta Beltline and tells his story internationally, but an essential aspect of his work is yet to come. Alongside project work at Sixpitch and research on similar “catalyst infrastructure” projects around the world, he makes a compelling case about what this movement means and why it matters. In his book, “Where We Want to Live,” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Ryan investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.
Ryan’s story has made ink in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Monocle, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CityLab, CNN International, USA Today, and Esquire Magazine. He has been listed among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine, 2014; the GOOD 100 by GOOD Magazine, 2013; “Visionary Bureaucrat” by Streetsblog, 2012; and “Top 25 Newsmakers” of 2011 by Engineering News-Record. He received Southface Institute’s highest Argon Award in 2022, Trees Atlanta’s Individual Tree Champion award in 2019, a “Trailblazer” award in 2018 from the South Fork Conservancy; an “Emerging Voices” citation from the AIA-Atlanta in 2011; Jenny D. Thurston Memorial Award from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission in 2007. He was named one of “45 Atlantans We Love” by Atlanta Magazine in 2006; one of “40-under-40″ from the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2006; and on of the “Best & Brightest” by Esquire Magazine in 2006. Other honors include a Special Award of Recognition from AIA-Atlanta in 2005; and Golden Shoe Award for pedestrian-friendly research from PEDS in 2003.
Ryan is the board chair of Generator and serves on the board of the Partnership for Southern Equity.
6/21/23 @ 8am EST
Aisha Nyandoro is the founding CEO of Springboard to Opportunities, a Jackson, MS nonprofit that uses a “radically resident-driven” approach to end generational poverty. In 2018, she created the Magnolia Mother’s Trust – now the country’s longest-running guaranteed income program.
In addition to leading Springboard’s community work and growing the Magnolia Mother’s Trust exponentially, Aisha is focused on shifting gendered and racialized narratives around poverty and deservedness, and working to show how the success of the Trust can be scaled nationally through policies like the expanded Child Tax Credit and a federal guaranteed income.
Her expertise on economic, racial and gender justice issues is regularly featured in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Amanpour & Company, Essence Magazine, NBC Nightly News and CNN. She is a TEDx speaker and a fellow of the Highland Project, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. She has received many awards and recognitions including the 2022 McNulty Prize and Disrupter Change Champion. She holds a B.A. from Tennessee State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. When not working to liberate financial capital she is a wife and mom to two very charming sons.
Our theme is Where Do We Go From Here? Dreaming New Community Futures. Honoring the history of civil rights and Black liberation movements in Atlanta, as well as the 60th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech, we are inspired by Morehouse College alumnus Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We take particular inspiration from his book “Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos?” The book chronicles his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement. The question he posed in the title informs the vision of the biennial: We unequivocally choose Community. The work of Dr. King and other Morehouse alumni aligns with the values of community psychology: social justice, empowerment, citizen participation, individual and family wellness, empirical grounding, and respect for diversity.
Given that we are hosting a hybrid conference that seeks to merge the old with the new, we also take inspiration from Afrofuturism. As a form of spatiotemporal consciousness rooted in Black liberation and transformation, Afrofuturism provides a framework for imagining new futures while also recovering past technologies of liberation. In parallel with community psychology’s focus on understanding prehistories of settings, Afrofuturism asks us to reconsider the histories we have been told and what futures we are allowed to dream.
The history of community-based scholarship would be incomplete without the work of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois. A founding figure of scientific sociology, Dr. Du Bois exemplified the community-engaged scholar. His Atlanta school of sociological research was an insurgent intellectual network during an era of social Darwinism and Jim Crow. His decolonial pragmatism used and innovated many methods we take for granted as community psychologists.
We want this conference to be a healing space as well. Beyond Dr. King and Dr. Du Bois, many scholars and activists from Morehouse and the surrounding Atlanta University Center (a consortium of HBCUs consisting of Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University) sought to heal communities from the psychological traumas resulting from imperialist extraction and capitalist exploitation. A strengths-based approach respects community self-determination and indigenous healing practices. Communities in the African diaspora have used different forms of restorative justice across the millennia. How do we help communities heal from trauma while respecting their own healing strategies? How do we heal our own communities where we are located?