It is with a heavy heart that I write this introduction to the Spring 2020 FOCUS and reflect on what a difficult season it has been. First, a global pandemic, followed by increasing instances of xenophobia against Asian Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders, and the disproportionate adverse impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities. On May 13, we lost Dr. Jean Lau Chin, an influential psychologist and past president of Division 45 who made an incredible impact in our field and who was a dear friend and mentor to many in our community. In the last several months, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop and George Floyd were tragically killed, and as of this writing, protests have taken place in hundreds of US cities, reflecting anger at oppression and the agony of compounding losses. The heightening of pain has been palpable this season as injustices continue to be perpetuated against BIPOC communities.
I am grateful to the contributors of this newsletter as they speak to the challenges, injustices, and pain we have been experiencing. The authors highlight the ways in which members of Division 45 have sought to honor, protect, and care for one another in this very difficult time, and as I read through them, I am reminded of the incredible strengths and love that are present in our community. In this edition, the president and president-elect columns highlight the specific challenges of the pandemic faced by our profession and BIPOC communities, as well as the unique opportunities to advocate and to act. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, shares her reflections and call to action in light of George Floyd’s death, titled “I Can’t Breathe: Resuscitating Black America.” Doris Chang describes the ongoing efforts taken by the Task Force on COVID-19 Anti-Asian Discrimination and Xenophobia. We honor our students, especially the ones who graduated, and the Division’s Graduate Student Representative, Keoshia Harris, shares her update from the student committee and speaks to specific challenges that students face in this season. Malini Basdeo, the student editor of FOCUS, who has been working closely with me in producing this newsletter, shares her thoughts on the importance of being a carer and protector of the vulnerable at this time. Finally, we thank Joseph Trimble and Josephine Tan for writing a heartfelt tribute to Jean Lau Chin.
This Spring edition marks the first FOCUS to be published as a web-based newsletter. This transition was birthed out of a vision that Amanda Waters, the 2016-2019 FOCUS editor, shared with me as she passed the baton last fall. She and I agreed that by making the newsletter content searchable via search engines, we are extending the reach and impact of our Division’s voice. At the midwinter meeting in January, the Division leadership supported and approved this transition, and I would like to thank Christy Byrd, our Division webmaster, and her assistant Laura Rodriguez, who made this transition possible! My hope is that these columns would provide a sense of empowerment and a reminder of the strengths in our community, the advocacy taking place, and most importantly, a sense of connectedness with each other that we critically need in this season.
Focus Spring 2020
- A Message to Graduating Students
- Division 45 Task Force on Covid-19 Anti-Asian Discrimination and Xenophobia
- From the Editor’s Desk
- Graduate Student Representative Column
- I Can’t Breathe: Resuscitating Black America
- In Memory of Jean Lau Chin, Ed.D.: A Champion for Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Social Justice
- President-Elect Column: Disease Threat, Racism, and Immigration
- President’s Column
- Report of Chair of the Council of Past Presidents