FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carolyn Aguayo
NATIONAL PRESIDENT DR. NEALON-WOODS COMMENTS ON
THE ROLE OF PSYCHOLOGISTS IN RECONCILIATION FOLLOWING ZIMMERMAN VERDICT
(LOS ANGELES) (July 18, 2013) – The recent legal decision in the George Zimmerman trial has opened up a difficult conversation in our society and within the hallways of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP). Our faculty, staff, and students are deep in dialogue. This week, informal forums were held on campuses across the country to provide our internal community an opportunity to discuss the verdict; how to move beyond the polarization of the race issue; and, more importantly, an opportunity to explore how they can engage others, as well as clients in a meaningful discussion.
It has proven quite impactful for our academic community to, not only provide a safe place to engage, but to model for our students how active listening, non-judgmental communication and empathy may be particularly valuable when such a public issue needs a fresh and honest conversation. At the end of the day, one participant after the other asked the question: when all the media coverage and the opinions lawyers and pundits have been exhausted, how do we move forward as a society to create a better understanding of each other’s worldviews and our own actions? How do we extend our hand to help others take into account all perspectives, without letting go of their own hard-held positions? How do we meaningfully bring the discussion on racial identity to the center, where a space can be created for real change in our society?
As psychologists and educators, we have the responsibility to drive change and lead reconciliation in our communities. In the weeks and months ahead, we will determine positive ways for us, as an institution, to translate our good intentions into actions while serving as a model for others who wish to advance the constructive dialogue required to sustain inclusiveness as a norm for our nation.