NEW ORLEANS – (BLACK PR WIRE) – The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) opened its 45th annual international convention today in New Orleans, LA, announcing plans to mobilize its membership and allies to help spark the creation of a national grassroots network of self-help groups focused on psychological and emotional issues raised in the Black community by the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.
Dr. Cheryl Grills, president of ABPsi, said, “We must address the psychological implications of the centuries-long devaluation of Black life. Last week, President Obama observed that the ‘history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws’ affects how African Americans view the Trayvon Martin tragedy. That history has also profoundly devalued the lives of Black people, and as a community, we must take time to heal.”
The ABPsi initiative is the outgrowth of a three-year collaboration with Community Healing Network, Inc. (CHN). Working with CHN, ABPsi has developed a research-based, culturally-sensitive guide to help promote healing conversations. Members of ABPsi will be briefed during multiple sessions at the New Orleans convention on a ground-breaking strategy called Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circles, designed to create safe spaces in which Black people can come together to: 1) share stories and explore the impact of history on emotions and relationships; 2) learn and practice essential emotional wellness skills; and 3) work to transform how Black people see themselves and how the world sees Black people.
ABPsi members will also be invited to join a new online community created by ABPsi and CHN called The Way Back Home, where they will be trained through webinars, with the goal of launching EE Circles in ABPsi chapters across the country in October during Community Healing Days, an annual celebration created by CHN to put “time for healing” on the Black community’s agenda.
According to Enola G. Aird, founder and president of CHN, “we must focus on the root cause of what happened to Trayvon Martin: the fact that for almost four hundred years across the globe Black people have been seen as less than human. It is well past time for us to address the root cause. It is well past time for us to reclaim our humanity.”
“The devaluation of Black lives,” said Daryl Rowe, president-elect of ABPsi, “undermines Black people’s sense of self-worth, the well-being of Black families, and Black children’s sense of positive possibilities. We believe that in order to empower itself to overcome its many challenges, the Black community must focus sharply on the goals of emotional emancipation, healing, and wellness, and we intend to be leaders in this crucial movement.” ABPsi members will be meeting in New Orleans from July 23rd through July 27th.