Psychology Equity, Inclusion, and Community (PEIC) Committee Newsletter
Newsletters brought to you by the Outreach Subcommittee
The Outreach Subcommittee within the PEIC Committee is specifically focused on building connections between our Department and other Departments at Pitt as well as between our Department and the greater Pittsburgh community. One of our major initiatives is a Speaker Series which hosts presenters from outside of our Department who share their expertise on a variety of topics related to the PEIC Committee’s goals including interdisciplinary perspectives on diversity and how recruiting diverse and marginalized populations improves research. We also put together this newsletter to keep the Department apprised of upcoming events and other important information in the equity, inclusion, and community space.
A message from PEIC co-chairs Beverly Conrique and Shirley Duong from March 17, 2021
Dear PEIC Committee members and colleagues,
We are heartbroken by the senseless act of violence yesterday against 8 people in Atlanta (6 were Asian American women), and the rising anti- Asian violence that has been occurring particularly since last year and throughout this country’s history. We grieve because this tragedy has not only added to violence against Asian Americans, but also to violence against women, and specifically to Asian American women. This becomes even more striking when we consider that there have been nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents in the last year, almost all against women.
Our recognition of how identities and communities intersect with one another compels us to address the processes that permeate and perpetuate our society’s unjust systems. When we consider that a majority of gendered violence has been against women of color, we are faced with the reality that white supremacy is an inherent danger that must be dismantled, including in our own efforts as academics and psychologists. This is the same white supremacy that puts Black men in chokeholds, kills Black women in their own homes, terrorizes immigrants of color, takes from indigenous communities, and perpetuates systemic inequities in who goes to prison, who gets what jobs, who gets insufficient access to good healthcare, and even who is most susceptible to the immediate dangers of global health crises like COVID-19.
We also need accountability, in whatever ways we can help push that forward. Please consider speaking up and supporting organizations that support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities, and please learn more in whatever ways you can. We have attached a list of resources to this email. Please also encourage and support your AAPI friends, colleagues, and students to prioritize their mental health. We stand by you during these times of senseless violence, and we stand alongside you to work to dismantle racism and white supremacy in our immediate community and beyond.
To learn more about this issue, check out How American Mythologies Fuel Anti-Asian Violence by Michael Kraus, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale University.
Buddy System: Sign up to be a “buddy” to help out seniors and people with chronic conditions get their basic needs met. The system is straight-forward-- once you’re on their emailing list they send out a Google doc as opportunities arise where volunteers can sign up to do things like deliver meals and transport seniors to get vaccines. Some are recurring events and others are one-offs.
Pitt’s Office of Community and Governmental Relations is partnering with several community organizations in a mass vaccination effort for the Pittsburgh Community. Over the next couple months, there will be opportunities for volunteers to serve in numerous non-clinical roles during this mass vaccination effort. If you are interested in being contacted about volunteer opportunities, fill out this Volunteer Enrollment Survey.
PEIC Committee Initiatives
Thank you to the graduate students and faculty who participated in the Anti-Racist Teaching Pedagogy Workshop! Didn’t get a chance to attend this semester? We will be holding another workshop next academic year!
The Undergraduate Committee’s PUGS (Psychology Partnership for Graduate and Undergraduate Students) Program will be holding a virtual roundtable event on Friday, April 16th from 12-1pm. Graduate students will be discussing their journeys to graduate school with interested undergraduates to give them a sense of the different pathways to a PhD program. Hope to see you there!
Zoom link: https://pitt.zoom.us/j/94991365713
Please join us for the next All Department PEIC-sponsored book club meeting! All interested faculty, students and staff are welcome to attend. We will be discussing the following:
Audre Lorde’s 1981 keynote presentation at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference: “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”
When: Friday, April 2nd at 11:00 AM
Zoom Link: https://pitt.zoom.us/j/92360012894
Meeting ID: 923 6001 2894
Gauging interest for new PEIC subcommittee: Goal of this group would be to advise the department on its response to salient events that are relevant to our DEI mission (e.g., BLM movement, Me Too movement, incidences of police brutality). Ideally, this will help get out departmental messages of support out in a timely manner if/when something happens out in the world. If you are interested in this subcommittee or have any questions, contact either Bev (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Shirley (email@example.com).
Perspectives on Ethical Issues in Psychology: Learn from the Past, Focus on the Present
As part of our ongoing discussion of perspectives on ethical issues in psychology, this month we asked PSOC member Rasul Adams for his perspectives on what he has experienced over the past year.
COVID-19: A Year in Review
COVID-19 is a topic I wish I did not have to think about as much as I do, and I am sure that is a sentiment shared by everyone reading this. It has been a long, terrifying, brutal, uncompromising year, with 540,000 people lost to a virus and people still out partying for St. Patrick’s Day. It is clear that we all live vastly different lives in this nation. Our diversity should be celebrated and cherished, not demonized and oppressed. Yet, levels of noise & air pollution, access to consistent internet connection, and the ability to work at home alone are just some of the examples of the variety of lived experiences. This is not even mentioning those who have had to live this year completely (or almost completely) inside, unable to be safe due to immunocompromising factors. But, what I want to get through to those who read this is that “going back to normal” fixes nothing in the systems that led us here in the first place.
Now is not the time to look away, to downplay, or to sweep under the rug. Black, Indigenous, People of Color have been shafted for far, far too long, and justice is something we all need to work towards. One major step forward lies in our continued efforts as a society to keep social distancing and wearing masks, doing what we have for the past year as vaccines continue to be rolled out. Another is to educate yourself on social justice issues without using BIPOC as your sources of your information. There are many great books out already that articulate the issues, the causes, and the action items we should be pushing for. I only know that because I too am finding and reading books. It is one thing to be ignorant, but another to be willfully ignorant. I hope that the next 365 days of our lives features all of us taking steps to work against systemic oppression, against discrimination of all forms both in and out of the ivory tower, and against anything that stands in the way of freedom for all people in the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
Want to Get Involved in Stopping Asian American Hate?
Check Out These Resources
Petition to hold the media accountable for covering these stories by @AsianAmericanCollective: Click here to sign.
Organizations to Follow
AAPI to Follow
Books to Read:
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Arrival by Ted Chiang
Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
In the Country by Mia Alvar
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
DEI and Anti-Racism Mentorship, Learning, and Research Enhancement Grants
Funding is available to: 1) strengthen the support for department members from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups by providing expanded access to mentors, 2) support growth in DEI and anti-racist knowledge by providing expanded access to learning opportunities, and 3) enhance the design, execution, and/or dissemination of research that is culturally competent, inclusive, and equitable. Any member of the department can submit a request for up to $1,000 in funding that falls within one or more of these categories.
Examples of appropriate requests include: funds to compensate an external colleague for service on a student milestone committee, review of a grant or fellowship proposal, consultation on a research project, delivery of training, consultation with an alumnus about future career pathways; funds to pay for registration costs for a diversity-focused conference, diversity or anti-racist training, or statistical/methods workshops on qualitative and demographically sensitive analysis; funds to compensate community members for participation in focus groups, or community leaders for their consultation; funds to pay for advertisement or other costs to diversify participant recruitment.
The proposal (limited to one page) should provide a rationale for the request and include an itemized budget. Proposals should be submitted to Bonnie Sampson via email as an attached word document. Proposals will be accepted immediately, and review will continue on a rolling basis until the funds have been depleted.
Part-time Paid Student Research PositionsThe goals of this initiative are to broaden exposure to research by students from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, by situating the opportunity in the context of meaningful part-time employment, broadly advertising the opportunity, and requiring a holistic selection process. I encourage all faculty to brainstorm with their research teams about this opportunity.
Funds may be requested to pay a work-study student or student employee to assist with research on a short-term basis. The position may be up to 15 hours per week and offer a salary of up to $10 per hour. The department will cover up to 150 hours of work.
Priority will be given to positions that align with our diversity and inclusion goals, for example a position that would bring cultural competency to the research team, provide an opportunity for a student to gain experience working with BIPOC or disadvantaged populations, extend the research by developing or enhancing its community engagement, or contribute to the diverse and inclusive recruitment of research participants. Priority will also be given to work-study positions, which by their very nature prioritize individuals with demonstrated financial need, and which receive a university subsidy that will stretch our departmental dollars further. Finally, priority will be given to faculty with the resources to provide continued employment or the willingness to assist in pursuing other support (e.g., a Breckenridge fellowship).
The proposal (limited to one page) should provide a rationale for the request, include the text of the proposed job description, specify whether a student employee or work-study position is sought, and indicate the ability or commitment of the faculty member to support the continued engagement of the employee in research. Proposals should be submitted to Bonnie Sampson via email as an attached word document. Proposals will be accepted immediately, and review will continue on a rolling basis until the funds have been depleted.
April and Summer Events
April 9, 2021: 10am - 11:30am
Political Diversity in the College Classroom
We live in a divisive political climate. Barriers of mistrust and misunderstanding exist even in a university setting. It's important to think about how instructors can better serve students — our future civic leaders and problem-solvers — and the communities that they will ultimately shape. Participants in this workshop will have an opportunity to reflect carefully on this question and will emerge with a concrete set of plans that can foster a culture of civil public discourse. Register here.
April 16, 2021: 9am-3:30pm
Decolonizing Psychology Training Conference: Strategies for Addressing Curriculum, Research Practices, Clinical Supervision, and Mentorship
The goal of this full-day conference, hosted by Teachers College, Columbia University, is to provide educators, supervisors, and students within the field of psychology and related fields with the needed resources to critically examine and decolonize their curricular, research, supervision, and mentorship practices. Register here.
April 21, 2021: 12pm
Reframing Suburbs: Understanding Issues of Racial Equity in Suburban Schools
Join the Center on Race and Social Problems for this lecture and discussion with Dr. John B. Diamond, the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as he presents important research on racial justice issues in the ever evolving suburban school context. Register here.
Coming up this summer:
Save the Date: Pitt’s Diversity Forum 2021 is set to take place virtually July 26-29. The Forum—the University's annual DEI conference, free and open to the public—will engage participants in transformative community learning, conversations, and actions to advance an inclusive, equitable, and just society. Forum details, including calls for workshop proposals, will be forthcoming.
Save the Date: Cultural Humility Workshop led by Dr. Jesse Owen will be taking place on June 4th at 1:00 PM.
Zoom link for Dr. Owen’s presentation: https://pitt.zoom.us/j/92200645157
Meeting ID: 922 0064 5157
Save the Date: The next Psychology Department townhall meeting in which Julie Fiez will discuss progress on DEI initiatives in the department will take place on Friday, May 14 from 11:30am – 1:00pm