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The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) - Community Psychology, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association - serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action. Our members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals.
The Society for Community Research and Action will have a strong, global impact on enhancing well-being and promoting social justice for all people by fostering collaboration where there is division and empowerment where there is oppression.
The Society for Community Research and Action is an organization devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action. Its members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals. SCRA serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action.
Four broad principles guide SCRA:
The community psychology of the future will be guided by four key guiding concepts: global in nature; use of multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary partnerships and approaches; a focus on creating policies informed by community psychology and social justice values; and research and action that promote social justice. Each of these priority areas is described in more detail below.
Community psychology will become increasingly global in nature. In this era of rapid globalization, local communities are increasingly affected by global forces, and community psychology must collaborate with communities so they effectively adapt to such changes. Our vision is for an international field of inquiry and action that respects cultural differences, honors human rights, seeks out and incorporates contributions from all corners of the world, and is not dominated by any one nation or group.
A community psychology approach, by definition, must be an approach informed by multiple perspectives. Thus, the future of community psychology will require partnerships with other disciplines and community stakeholders.
These partnerships will incorporate the strengths from multiple perspectives. In academia this approach is often labeled interdisciplinary, in communities it is often called multi-sectoral. Whatever the label, this approach will manifest itself in all aspects of our work. We will partner with others while maintaining our own unique identity as psychologists.
Community psychology will become more engaged in the formation and institutionalization of economic, and social policy. These policies will be based upon the values that are at the core of our discipline and will incorporate psychological principles. Involvement with policy is consistent with community psychology's ecological perspective on community which recognizes the importance of macrosystem factors, such as policy, on communities.
National, regional, and international associations of community psychologists will develop the capacity to take policy stands as a group and as individuals. The field of community psychology will help prepare groups to act as advocates in policy arenas. In addition, the field will encourage and prepare individual community psychologists to be active advocates in the promotion of social policies that promote social justice. Community psychology associations will organize and encourage such action.
Community psychology will become a field of research and action that makes a significant difference on issues of social change by promoting social justice. Social justice is defined as conditions that promote equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, and active citizenry. The field will explicitly state its commitment to social changes that promote social justice and greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups and will see that commitment manifest in the various aspects of the field's work.
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).
Diversity is an ethical principle that means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is an active appreciation and affirmation that individuals and communities deserve to be recognized in their uniqueness and differences. By making differences visible, we are able to see, nurture, and utilize the strengths of all persons. It is additionally important to support and protect diversity because by valuing differences we foster a climate where equity and mutual respect are promoted, and where dehumanization and oppression are incompatible. Diversity is a value held by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences.
Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve, but are not limited to the following:
Diversity Vision Statement and Purpose (n.d.) In City University New York (CUNY). Retrieved from http://www2.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/hr/diversity-and-recruitment/
Palmer, G., & Watkins, K., (2017, January). Diversity Isn't equality: Advancing social justice for people of color. Paper presented at the annual retreat of Adler, University, Chicago.
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