My week at the CUNY Graduate Center Digital Research Institute (#GCDRI)

(written on June 10, 2016)

I have just had the best week in a long time (June 6-10, 2016) attending the CUNY Graduate Center Digital Research Institute, #GCDRI.  To put my statement into context, in preparation for my dissertation research, I have been attending a variety of excellent trainings at different institutions since the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester.  All of the trainings have been useful in one way or another, but the #GCDRI provided me with some critical knowledge and skills that I didn’t get elsewhere.  I can say without hesitation that the #GCDRI is the most comprehensive training I have attended in a very long time—and the only comprehensive training on digital research I have ever attended. The best part is that I didn’t have to leave town to participate.

Why this training matters

This training matters, and stands out to me for three reasons: people, practice, product.

People

I met SO MANY fun, interesting, and like-minded people at the #GCDRI.  First and foremost, the #GCDRI was led by Drs. Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Lisa Marie Rhody, Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives at the CUNY Graduate Center. About 60 graduate students, GC staff, alumni, and faculty from a whole range of disciplines were accepted to the training.  I was not able to meet them all, but made some really exciting connections and hopefully long-term collaborations/friendships with some attendees.  Many people here are one of the few, if not the only person in their department with an interest in digital research.  It can be a very lonely road in many ways. The #GCDRI is a great place to connect to people like you, whatever your situation.  I found out about people at Hunter College, where my lab is, with shared interests and feelings of isolation.  Now we are excited to stay in touch and support one another as part of a larger community we were introduced to at the #GCRI.

A lot of our workshops were led by the CUNY GC Digital Fellows.  I cannot say enough good things about each of them.  Not only are they all super talented, they are very approachable, and did such a great job sharing their knowledge with us and answering our questions.  I found out that the Digital Fellows have ongoing office hours, working groups, and trainings free and open to GC Students.  I was so impressed with the Digital Fellows that I half-jokingly tweeted about them.

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I met some important heads of GC programs, library staff, and colleagues of GC faculty/staff as well.  In summary, all the nerds you need to know to be a successful researcher were present and accessible at the #GCDRI.  The people were great!

Practice

A limitation of many trainings is that they are heavy on theory and light on practice.  The result is often people leave the training with short-lived excitement about ideas that are not bolstered by the confidence gained with guided practice.  The balance of training in both the introductory knowledge AND skill to engage in digital research permeated the #GCDRI sessions.

The tone was set first thing Monday morning with an “install-a-thon” session where #GCDRI staff and the Digital Fellows made sure we all had properly installed and working software for the week.  While our “install-a-thon” was happening we were each challenged to distill one research idea onto an 11 x17 inch sheet of paper in the most creative way possible; then present a 1-3 minute synopsis to as many fellow attendees as possible.  My idea involves adapting electrophysiology equipment and methods for flexible recordings out of a lab setting.  It is easy to get bogged down in technical details when talking about it—so at first I found the task quite challenging.  My confidence grew, however, as I began drawing out my idea.  Below is one panel describing the work of Dr. Stefan Debener and colleagues (2012) that serve as the foundation for my idea. It needs refinement but was a great way for me to practice talking about my research quickly with a large variety of people.  More details on my project here.

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The other workshops I attended were (see all workshops here):

Command line

Git/GitHub

Python

Time Series & Categorical Data

Databases

Machine Learning

Project Laboratory

Data Management Plans

Grant & Fellowship Tips

Most workshops included a generous amount of guided and independent practice time, some with challenges to reinforce what we learned.  We then ended the training with more practice presenting our research ideas and ideas for ongoing working groups to foster our collaborations and ideas.  This level of practice with such great people led to the extra valuable third reason this training matters so much: product.

Product

 The transition from a training, where attendees can shut out daily life—and the real world that is full of demands and the daily grind often interferes with immediate incorporation of new knowledge and skills into practice.  That is why I was so happy to leave the #GCDRI with some tangible product that I could put to use right away.  First, there are the two copies of my research idea that I presented, one from the first day and one from the last day.  This is something real that I have distilled, presented, and received feedback on already: priceless!  I have sample code and tutorials from my practices during the workshop, along with extras provided by workshop instructors. I have tons of technical reference sheets.  I have a comprehensive Project Laboratory guide that takes a project step-by-step from the initial idea to the presentation of the final product.  I have working group and collaboration plans in the works, and membership to the #GCDRI CUNY Commons group where collaboration and sharing can continue.  Most importantly I have confidence that I can turn my idea into a reality—with an overwhelming level of support.

(Update on June 24, 2016)

I have been attending a really great #NEURAL2016 conference at the University of Alabama.  On the second day of the conference we received an email about a “Shark Tank” contest with a $1000 travel award given to 3 winning students.  The explanation was:

In the spirit of the television program, contestants will be given 3 minutes to sell their project to the panel of judges, in front of the NEURAL Conference Audience.  Two minutes will be added for questions from the judges.  Extreme enthusiasm from the audience is required.   The main point of the presentation will be to effectively communicate the impact your project will make on the world.   You may use a sharpie and large-tablet easel or white board, as the room provides.  The point of this contest is to celebrate and reward preparedness and passion.

We have slots for ~27 participants.  Each trainee can enter the contest by writing their name on a piece of paper supplied to you by Tiffany/Jamie at any point during the conference, but only one name per trainee.  Participants will be selected right before a shark tank presentation by drawing three names.

Three awards of $1,000 each will be made in the following categories:

Travel Award 1 – $1,000

Graduate Trainees within 1-2 years of their graduate training.

Travel Award 2 – $1,000

Graduate Trainees within 3-5 years of their graduate training.

Travel Award 3 – $1,000

Graduate Trainees 5 + AND postdocs, all years.

With the #GCDRI presentation practice fresh in mind I decided to give the contest a shot.  In the first picture below you can see I drew a brain inside a heart and below that a chain.  I opened with, “I love the brain” pointing to the picture on top.  Then, “this is a chain” pointing to the picture on the bottom, and explaining that most EEG researchers and participants are “chained” to labs, which have advantages and disadvantages.  The goal of my “Flexible Field Recordings of Central and Peripheral Electrophysiology” project is to break those chains, allowing for new discoveries based on recordings in more naturalistic settings. I was tied with an outstanding researcher and presenter, Cagney Croomer Felton, a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky, in Molecular and Cellular Development Biology, in the Graduate Trainees within 3-5 years of their graduate training group.  The #NEURAL folks decided to give us both the award, which was great.  Cagney is a force of nature, a really magnetic presenter.  It says a lot about the #GCDRI training that I was able to present along side her and other great presenters and win this contest.  The second picture below is a screenshot from the University of Alabama Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program Facebook page, announcing our win.  The confidence I gained at the #GCDRI paid off immediately, and continues to pay off, as I develop my project.

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Presenting my “Flexible Field Recordings of Central and Peripheral Electrophysiology” project idea at the #NEURAL2016 Shark Tank Challenge.

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Screenshot from the University of Alabama Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program Facebook page, announcing the Shark Tank challenge winners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praxis

One of the prompts we received to prepare our final #GCDRI presentations was, “I learned this new thing called:”

I initially wrote, “comprehensive digital research methods.”  That description didn’t necessarily roll off the tongue.  After writing that down I recalled that the #GCDRI was described on the website as “A Week-Long Intensive Course on Digital Research Methods and Praxis.”  I didn’t remember the word praxis being used the whole week but wondered if it captured what I was trying to say better.  It did!  Praxis is described as the the process that takes a person from ideas and theories to tangible results and products.  So, although I don’t remember the word praxis coming up during my week at the #GCDRI, I was living it, receiving exposure to the people, practice, and product that embodies the idea.

Below is my final Tweet from my week at the #GCDRI.  In it there is an image of me taken by a colleague of mine at the #GCDRI during the final networking reception.  In the image I am clearly tired, but clearly satisfied, and as the caption says, “ready to solve many problems after the great week with the @Digital_Fellows at the #gcdri.”  If you are serious about digital research make it a priority to apply for and attend the next training.  Feel free to contact me if you need help locating the information.

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To   see more of my tweets about the #GCDR to to: https://twitter.com/ASLXchange and look for the #gcdri hashtag.

~ Mani

 

Posted in Diversity, For Graduate Students, For Postdocs, Neuroscience, Neuroscientist, STEM, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Portable EEG project

repost from my Linkedin page.

This project was inspired by the paper: How about taking a low‐cost, small, and wireless EEG for a walk (Debener et al., 2012)?

I obtained two Emotiv Epoc wireless EEG devices in 2014. My goal was to gain the flexibility to conduct high quality EEG research out of the lab. I was encouraged by a growing body of research listed on the Emotiv website.  However, difficulty with the design of the product concerned me (see observations by Dr. Greg Siegle).

After some more research, I came across the Debener et al., 2012 article mentioned above.  In the article Debener and colleauges explain how they merged the Emotiv Epoc microprocessor with lab—grade EasyCap EEG electrodes, wires, and caps to create a low-cost customized portable EEG system usable for collecting high quality data out of the lab. In fact, they successfully collected data with participants walking around a track.

Intrigued I contacted Dr. Debener and asked him for instructions on converting the Emotiv Epoc device.  He sent me instructions created with EasyCap; I ordered the parts, hired someone with the skills to do the work, and now have two exciting portable EEG systems to try out.  The evolution of this process is captured in the photos below. 

Yesterday I had a chance to try the systems out for the first time.  I was impressed by the quality of the equipment and the ease of use.  I successfully got a clean signal and my participant played a brain—computer interface (BCI) game provided with the Emotiv software package.  Some photos and a brief video are below.  I look forward to sharing updates with more details.

Posted in Clinical Psychology, Community Psychology, For Deaf Professionals, For Graduate Students, For interpreters, For Postdocs, For Undergraduates, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Neuroscientist, Psychology, Research | Tagged , | 2 Comments

BLACK LIVES MATTER: American Family Therapy Academy

Shared from: https://afta.org/2016/03/black-lives-matter/

We, as members of the American Family Therapy Academy, must be vigilant and mindful of the racist air we breathe and of the residual racism in the far reaches of our unconscious.  Racism is the common denominator of many of the injustices in our society.  Despite civil rights legislation and public discourse, racism persistently intersects with other systems of oppression and domination, ultimately defining our social structure, institutions and culture.

We support the Black Lives Matter movement because we recognize, painfully, that white racial domination and the myth of superiority are deeply embedded at every level of society, even among those of us who are aware and accountable.  This has a direct impact on the safety, health and well being of individuals, families and communities.

Black Lives Matter identifies itself as making a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of black people by police and vigilantes. “Embracing intersectionality, Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum” (http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/).

Background of Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag on Twitter in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. It was a motto authored by three black women; Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in response to the political and social climate of dehumanization of Black lives evidenced in the blaming of Black victims of violence while acquitting the perpetrators of said violence.  This was epitomized in the way that Trayvon Martin was posthumously vilified and blamed for his own death.

Black Lives Matter increased in prominence as a motto and began to take the nascent form of an organization in response to the shooting and killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.  Protests and acts of civil disobedience in Ferguson in response to the lack of indictment for Darren Wilson garnered wide spread media attention and focused a brighter light on the issue.  A string of ensuing incidents involving the death of Black people at the hands of the state have highlighted both the idea and the importance of Black Lives Matter.  Initially, a rallying cry, it has since taken the form of an organization seeking to establish a presence on the ground in the form of protest and of an assertive voice.

Black Lives Matter can best be understood as an affirmation of the value of Black lives.  It is an assertion in response to the dehumanization of the Black community.  Every time a Black individual is killed and blamed while the police or the judiciary protects the killer, it communicates a lack of value or worth of Black lives.  Black Lives Matter, first as a slogan and now as an organization, is a force pushing back against that message of white supremacy.

Why the Black Lives Matter Movement Should Matter to Members of AFTA and to all Mental Health Professionals

We enter therapeutic relationships with preconceived, often subjective ideas of normal and abnormal, functional and dysfunctional, rooted in our racial, cultural and social contexts. The experience of racial privilege can lead to a universal assumption that all people and races have similar experiences and opportunities. Diagnostic assessments and research practices are far from immune to these influences and assumptions.

Assumptions based in White privilege are present in psychotherapy regardless of the setting or the social status of the participants; from private practices to agencies serving clients of lower socio-economic class. Therapy is not conducted in a vacuum.  In addition to the personal history and present situation of each family and individual, therapy is influenced by the intersecting, multidimensional contexts that include the social systems and cultural identities of privilege, race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, education, sexual orientation and gender identity addressed by Black Lives Matter as it affirms the lives of Black people and challenges the dehumanization of the Black community.

In our work as family therapists, teachers, program planners and researchers, our support for Black Lives Matter calls for:

  • The recognition that people have diverse reactions and/or experiences with racism and privilege;
  • Informing ourselves and our work about the consequences of white privilege for clients, families and communities of color and challenging the manifestations of internalized domination and oppression in our culture, clinical work, teaching, research and program planning;
  • Including race and matrix privilege and oppression in our assessments and in the process of our work;
  • Creating a context for our clients, regardless of race, to consider how race and privilege are meaningful and relevant areas of inquiry and proactive intervention.;
  • Develop and implement systems of accountability and action aimed at addressing issues of dominance, oppression and inequity in all forms with our clients and within institutions and communities.

 Call to Action

We support policies, laws, and the allocation of resources to address problems that are rooted in racism, including but not limited to the following critical issues:

Inequality in economic security and economic development;

  • Inadequate living wages;
  • Bank loan discrimination;
  • Healthcare disparities;
  • Human trafficking for sex and labor;
  • Unfair and unequal treatment in the criminal justice system, including putting a stop to mass incarceration, police brutality and killing of Black citizens;
  • Disproportionate numbers of Black children in out of home placements (e.g.foster care, residential care);
  • The school to prison pipeline; the practice of disciplinary measures resulting in Black children being expelled and subjected to police intervention at an exponentially higher rate than White children:
  • Voter suppression;
  • Unequal opportunity for a quality education for all children inclusive of the history of Black people.

Strategies for Intervention

We are committed to learning from and supporting groups such as Black Lives Matter.  As professionals with expertise in systemic, contextual thinking and family wellness, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to expand our individual and collective efforts to end structural racism, promote healing and minimize the residual effects of oppression on those most marginalized in our society.  Through a variety of strategies including advocacy (such as writing newspaper articles and letters to the editor), participation in public hearings and community meetings, addressing legislators and government officials and participation on boards and committees we endeavor to:

  • Engage in the broader social discourse from our position as experts on family life and family systems;
  • Expose discriminatory and racist practices in educational and other public institutions;
  • Expose the intersection of structural racism with the oppression of other marginalized groups as it makes it impossible to end the oppression of one to the exclusion of the other;
  • Promote a multifaceted framework for well being that includes a focus on preventing/reducing the negative social, emotional, relational and behavioral consequences that oppression and inequality have on individuals, families, and communities;
  • Provide training, consultation and technical assistance to support larger systems (e.g. schools, juvenile justice, mental health) in becoming more culturally proficient service deliverers;
  • Promote mandatory participation of teachers, healthcare and mental health professionals in undoing racism training;
  • Assist vulnerable communities to actively promote their constituents’ capability to resist the damaging effects of internalizing racism by drawing upon cultural wisdom, strengths and traditions.
  • Recognizing the liberation and resistance effects of people who are dominated

About the American Family Therapy Academy

 AFTA envisions a just world through the transformation of social context to promote health, safety and wellbeing for individuals, families and communities. Through our commitment and dedication to advancing systemic thinking and practice, we will collaborate with and support Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations to end structural racial oppression and promulgate the concept that anti-racist social action is directly connected to empowering families and individuals.  As an organization of family therapy teachers, clinicians, program directors, researchers and social scientists, we urge our members to engage with local, regional and national efforts to dismantle racist social policies and laws, to promote policies that are racially equitable and fair, and to advocate for respect for the dignity of all people.

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The Association of Black Psychologists Condemns Police Shootings

The Association of Black Psychologists Condemns Police Shootings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 8, 2016

Contact: Kevin Washington, Ph.D., National President

301-449-3082

abpsi@abpsi.org

The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) condemns the actions of law enforcement in the recent shootings of 37-year old Delrawn Small by an off-duty police officer during an act of road rage in Brooklyn, NY on July 4, 2016, 37-year old Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, LA on July 5, 2016, and 32-year old Philando Castile during a traffic stop in St. Paul, MN on July 7, 2016. We continue to share our strong concern with these and other egregious acts of police brutality against Black men specifically and Black people in general. The common elements in each of these murders is police officers and Black men. Though it is understood that Police officers have the right of “Use of Force” it is apparent that the use of deadly force against Black men has become an unfortunate outcome of far too many interactions between Black men and police officers’ standard procedure for routine stops. These murders demonstrate that Black lives continue to be devalued.

An atmosphere that is filled with racial intolerance can be implicated in influencing the behaviors of these law enforcers. As mental health professionals (healers) we advance that the psychological well-being of the entire Black community is negatively impacted by the law enforcers’ misuse of force. Such acts unchecked operate in opposition to the Black inalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We also want to emphasize that we do not condone acts of violence in response to the murders, in particular, the murders of police officers in Dallas, Texas and other parts of the country. Rather, we support efforts to transform the use of force policies. We recommend that an impartial body for all law enforcement departments conduct a review of the use of force policies where police brutality has occurred. We also recommend that appropriate review of civil rights violations be instituted. We advance that trauma interventions associated with race and police brutality for children, adolescents and adults be established nationwide starting with the states with the highest occurrences of police brutality including but not limited to Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Florida, California, South Carolina and New York.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of all of the victims. We encourage all who carry the weight of injustice to seek professional support. A list of available psychologists in your area can be found on the ABPsi website: www.abpsi.org . Furthermore, we stand willing to assist with the healing that must take place in our nation in order for everyone to move forward.

The Association of Black Psychologists is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that seeks to promote and advance the profession of African psychology, influence and effect social change, and develop programs that address and work to alleviate problems of Black communities and other ethnic groups. www.abpsi.org.

Posted in Association of Black Psychologists, Diversity, For Graduate Students, For Kids, For Parents, For Postdocs, For Undergraduates, Health Psychology, Police, Psychology | Leave a comment

Bullettrun WildRun Parkour Program

Information shared from the Bullettrun website. 

A lot of my Community Psychology work is with Bullettrun, a collaborative multimedia company that uses the art of parkour to provide men and women with social, educational and performance opportunities in NYC.

I am super excited about our latest collaborative project, the WildRun Parkour Program.

WildRun is a parkour program conducted at Kaiser Park; in collaboration with Bullettrun, Underworld Movement, and the NYPD PSA-1 Explorer’s club. WildRun is sponsored by Partnership for Parks, Catalyst Program and Citizens Committee for New York City. On June 2016 Bullettrun and Underworld Movement began offering weekly parkour classes to the community served at Kaiser Park in collaboration with Officer Daniel Thomas of the PSA1 Explorer’s program of Coney Island, and Ted Enoch of the Partnerships for Parks-Catalyst Program. The purpose of these parkour classes is to improve the physical fitness and self-esteem of the youth between the ages of 12-18 who live in the community.

WildRun Summer 2016 classes will culminate in a performance during the Explorer’s extravaganza, featuring students who participated in the classes and members of the Bullettrun professional company of parkour artists.

We at Bullettrun believe a healthy relationship between mind, body and public space can be encouraged by studying the art and discipline of parkour. Our certified instructors and their apprentices currently live near and train in parkour at Kaiser Park. These young men are leaders in their community. WildRun classes consist of introducing students to the basics of parkour technique, including calisthenics and safe gymnastic style movements such as vaulting, climbing, rolling and jumping.

WildRun classes are held at a temporary obstacle course that is assembled in the athletic field of Kaiser Park.

By mastering basic, parkour movements, students will not only become healthier, but gain confidence in their abilities to exercise in Kaiser Park with improved confidence and athletic strength.

After mastering the basic movements of parkour, we will encourage participants to take what apply what they have learned to act as agents in their own success—using Kaiser Park as their canvas for focused, healthy, safe and fun activities that benefit their entire community.

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Posted in Community Psychology, Diversity, For Kids, For Parents, Free, Health Psychology, NYPD Explorers Program, Parkour, Partnership for Parks, Psychology | Leave a comment

Scholarship Opportunity for Deaf-Blind person to attend International Deaf-Blind Expo (IDBE) 2016!

Scholarship Application

The winner of this scholarship will receive ONE free four-day registration to the International DeafBlind Expo 2016 in Orlando, Florida. They will also receive ONE free ticket to the Gala Dinner. The recipient will be responsible for all of their travel, lodging, and food costs. The recipient will be responsible for obtaining their own Support Service Providers to accompany them to the event. This application must be filled out completely to be considered. We will accept the application in either written or video formats. The application must be received by June 30, 2016 at 5PM EST to either: info@internationaldeafblindexpo.com or Bapin Group, PO Box 183, Greenbackville, VA 23356.

The scholarship winner will be selected by July 10, 2016 and will be informed via e-mail.

You must be DeafBlind to apply. There are no other restrictions on applicants.

Full Name:

Mailing Address:

Phone Number: (TTY/VP/Cell)

E-mail Address:

Date of Birth:

Gender:

Please explain how attending the International DeafBlind Expo 2016 will benefit you.

How do you plan to utilize the information gained from this experience?

How will your lodging, travel, and food expenses be paid for?

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JOIN THE APAGS LGBT MENTORING PROGRAM!

Shared from an email:

The APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity is recruiting mentors and mentees for its year-long mentoring program for LGBT graduate students in psychology. Please join us!

  • The program is designed to provide an opportunity for students to be mentored by phone, Skype, email, or in person by colleagues who share similar interests, experiences, and goals.
  • We are currently looking for students and professionals to take part in our 2016-2017 program.
  • Mentees consistently report that their experience in this program is positive and promotes their professional development.
  • Mentors, including advanced graduate students, faculty members, and practicing psychologists, state that their mentees help them expand their knowledge and inspire nurturing relationships.
  • Applications for this year’s program are due August 15. We look forward to working with you!
APAGS LGBT MENTORING PROGRAM Flyer

APAGS LGBT MENTORING PROGRAM Flyer

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Orgullo Special Interest Group of NLPA Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

I have found little comfort in the flood of responses to the Orlando mass shooting.  Shortly after hearing about the shooting the National Latina/o Psychological Association began discussing a response with members.  I am sharing the responses sent today—which bring me both comfort and pride in the organization.

Orgullo

Special Interest Group of NLPA

Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

Today, we, members of the Orgullo Latinx: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Special Interest Group (SIG) of the National Latina/o Psychological Association (NLPA), express our deep sorrow for the tragic and unnecessary loss of lives at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We also wish to state that we stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and community members of the injured and killed that night, and know there are no words we can express that will erase the pain they are experiencing.

As we learn more about the victims of this hate crime, it has become evident that many of the victims were members of the Latinx Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. Thus, this tragedy hits especially close to home for many of us; we’ve danced the night away at Latinx themed LGBTQ+ nights amongst our chosen families and loved ones and likely would have done so during the NLPA conference in Orlando later this year. What happened in Orlando could’ve happened to any one of us.

Some of the victims were from mixed status families, or undocumented themselves, and the majority of the victims were of Puerto Rican descent. They may have sought to escape the socio-political and economic crises in their home country in hopes of establishing a life where they could be safer, accepted, and loved for who they are; only to have their “safe space” corrupted with hate and violence that ended their lives. Unfortunately, the attention to these intersecting identities and the fact that this was a hate crime has been shadowed by the focus on terrorism connected to an Islamophobic and Xenobobic discourse.

As more details emerge, we have learned that the assailant was a regular attendee of Pulse nightclub. Details about the assailant’s sexuality remain unknown, but bring up deeply rooted feelings amongst us of the pain, rejection, and self-inflicted violence many LGBTQ+ individuals experience in relation to societal and familial oppression, which that night was placed outward. Although the assailant was not of Latinx descent, there are cultural similarities related to familismo and religiosity that greatly impact the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups. We often want our families to accept us unconditionally but because of the heterosexism and homophobia underlying many cultural traditions, such as conservative and anti-LGBTQ+ religious views, we are often rejected directly and/or through silence and left to build family and community elsewhere.

We must also not be silent on the issue of Xenophobia and Islamophobia brought to light by popular media outlets in their coverage of the shooting.  From an intersectional perspective, similar to how LGBTQ+ and Latinx identities are not mutually exclusive, neither are being both Latinx and Muslim and/or Muslim and LGBTQ+. Any dialogue of hate and division only serves to further oppress all marginalized communities. Based on the current political discourse against the Muslim community, Islamophobia is an easy tool to derail from the topic of homophobia and gun control. Therefore, we must not allow our sorrow and fear to be used against Muslim people, who are themselves a historically marginalized group in the U.S. also striving for social justice.

Although this tragic hate crime makes clear the dangers facing Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities, we are steadfast in our commitment to stand proud and to continue to fight for the rights and dignities that should unequivocally be afforded to us. This horrendous massacre reminds us once again that we need to take an active stance in challenging the silent culture of accepting the ways homophobia and heterosexism permeate our global Latinx community. Being passive and not taking action only perpetuates the status quo of privilege and oppression. This year alone, conservative and Christian-identified political leaders introduced over 200 anti-LGBTQ+ bills across 22 states. In addition, their influence continues to stall immigration legislation and reform at the expense of many Latinx immigrants.

Now, more than ever, every one of us must make clear our commitment to recognizing the intersections within and among our Latinx communities. The victims of the Pulse nightclub were there that night to celebrate Latinx life and community. In the words of Julio Salgado, “A Latin night at a gay club is not just a place to dance cumbia and salsa. It’s a place for Brown and Black bodies to come together and dance the night away, to try and forget, at least for one evening, about the bullshit that we deal with every single day. Every time we go out and be our full queer selves, there’s a fear in the back of our heads that someone will harm us.”

We, members of the Orgullo SIG of NLPA, wish to express that the love we share for our Latinx communities–whom we have committed our professional lives to serving–is born from the intersections we live every day. An intersectional experience that comes with grave danger and at any point can cost us our lives. Join us in remembering and celebrating the victims of Orlando, as well as taking a proactive stance as mental health professionals to uplift Latinx LGBTQ+ voices so that future tragedies like this can be avoided.

In solidarity,

Your Orgullo familia[1]

[1] In a spirit of transparency, not ownership, we provide the names of the persons who collaboratively crafted this document (in alphabetical order by first surname): Roberto Abreu, Alison Cerezo, Dagoberto Heredia, Laura Minero-Meza, Richard Renfro, and Zully Rivera-Ramos.

Posted in Clinical Psychology, Diversity, For Graduate Students, For Postdocs, For Spanish Speakers, News, NLPA, Psychology | Comments Off on Orgullo Special Interest Group of NLPA Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

National Latina/o Psychological Association & Orgullo SIG Joint Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

I have found little comfort in the flood of responses to the Orlando mass shooting.  Shortly after hearing about the shooting the National Latina/o Psychological Association began discussing a response with members.  I am sharing the responses sent today—which bring me both comfort and pride in the organization.

National Latina/o Psychological Association & Orgullo SIG

Joint Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

The National Latina/o Psychological Association (NLPA) and Orgullo Latinx: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Special Interest Group)[1] express our deep sorrow about the tragic loss of lives at Pulse Orlando Night Club & Ultra Lounge. We stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and community members of the injured and killed that night. There are no words that will erase their pain.

NLPA reaffirms its commitment to advancement of equity for Latinos/as, especially where intersecting identities create elevated risks. We acknowledge that there are specific brands of sexism and homophobia that are tied to our cultural traditions, beliefs, and values. We call on our members to engage in a healthy reflection and transformation of our culture so that all members, LGBTQ+ and otherwise, are able to live as their true selves and thus reflect the rich cultural tapestry of our Latina/o heritage. We call on our members to engage actions that promote social justice in our communities and nationally.

The majority of the victims of the Pulse Club massacre were members of the Latinx[2] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) community. In fact, many were of Puerto Rican descent. Social, political, and economic difficulties in Puerto Rico may have led some of the victims and their families to seek a life outside of the island where they thought they could be safe, accepted, and loved for who they were. Instead of safety, they faced hate and violence. Others there faced unique challenges related to their documentation status and other intersecting identities. In a space where they ought to have found freedom to celebrate, they instead faced trauma, injuries, and death.

A nationalist narrative that focuses on international terrorism and advances an Islamophobic and Xenophobic discourse has shadowed attention to these intersecting identities and to the nature of this hate crime. We reject this narrative. We believe the killings at Pulse may have resulted from internalized homophobia and heterosexism rooted in a society that dismisses the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ People of Color and of diverse religious faith and spiritual traditions. These are domestic problems and we call on all psychologists to actively engage to eradicate these social ills through their research, teaching, practice, and advocacy. We also disapprove of the polarization of people on the basis of their Islamic faith. Psychologists can and must play an important role in challenging false stereotypes and alleviating the suffering created by these. Furthermore, we acknowledge that there are structural barriers to creating a more peaceful society. Of particular relevance we note gun control policies. Psychologists can and must take an active role to effect meaningful changes in policies that will help protect the public from gun violence.

Our NLPA community is diverse. We welcome and celebrate all of our members with their many and varied identities spanning nationality, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability status, citizenship status, social and economic status, among many others. Where one of our members is not safe or welcome, none of us are safe or welcome.

NLPA calls on each member to engage action to address the inequities that led to the Pulse nightclub massacre. Whether that action is educating yourself on the issues, raising your voice, joining the Orgullo SIG, or engaging specific volunteer and/or advocacy work, we believe it is the responsibility of psychologists to effect social change that reflects the knowledge and stated values of the field of psychology. We call on our members to support survivors and others affected. NLPA members may consider providing pro-bono services on site or via telehealth to affected families and friends or support the translation of resources, among other immediate actions. We also encourage you to read Orgullo’s more personal statement on Orlando’s massacre.

The NLPA conference planning committee and the Orgullo SIG are working hard to embody these principles in the programming of our upcoming Conferencia, which coincidentally takes place this year in Orlando. Prior to this incident, conference planning actively engaged the inclusion of LGBTQ+ scholarship at the conference. Dr. Oliva Espín, a nationally renowned expert on intersectionality between ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender is a keynote speaker. She is one of many in the scientific program who will discuss Latinx LGBTQ+ issues and identities. We have paid attention to smaller details as well by using gender neutral bathrooms and offering LGBTQ+ Safe Zone buttons. We will also honor the victims of this massacre at the conference. These are our committed actions.

NLPA stands proud and will continues to fight for the rights and dignities that should unequivocally be afforded to our LGBTQ+ familia. We are one family. We are Orlando.

[1] In a spirit of transparency, not ownership, we provide the names of the persons who collaboratively crafted this document (in alphabetical order by first surname): Roberto Abreu, Cristalís Capielo, Alison Cerezo, Melanie Domenech Rodríguez, Dagoberto Heredia, Laura Minero-Meza, Richard Renfro, and Zully Rivera-Ramos.

[2] Learn more about term at http://www.complex.com/life/2016/04/latinx/after-latinx

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Staff Psychologist Position in NYC

Applications are being accepted for a part-time and full-time staff psychologist position at CBT/DBT Associates.CBT/DBT Associates is a private practice group in midtown Manhattan specializing in evidence-based treatment for all ages. To learn more aboutCBT/DBT Associates, please visit www.cbtdbtassociates.com. Prior experience in both DBT and CBT with adults is required. Additional child and adolescent experience is highly desirable. Other requisites include New York state license in psychology and graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology. The ideal candidate is a self-starter who enjoys working as part of a team with a sophisticated, high functioning clientele.CBT/DBT Associates offers competitive compensation and benefits including medical insurance and 401k. Applicants should send a cover letter, CV, and three references that can be reached by phone to Lisa A. Napolitano, Ph.D. atNapolitano@cbtdbtassocs.com.

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