Every year at AEA's annual conference, the Community Psychology TIG organizes a "Walk the Talk" session for conference attendees. In these sessions, we visit a local community organization and talk with them about their evaluation successes, challenges, and needs. These sessions enable TIG members and participants to connect more meaningfully with those engaging in evaluation in the local community, learn about the different ways that community organizations approach evaluation in their unique contexts, and offer ideas and support to help local organizations address some of their evaluation challenges. This event bridges the values of both community psychology and evaluation and is an example of the important role community psychologists can play in evaluation.
Here are summaries and pictures from the Walk the Talk sessions the Community Psychology TIG has sponsored to date:
AEA 2016 (Atlanta, GA). Walk the Talk event: Georgia Justice Project & Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site
October 28, 2016, the Community Psychology TIG held its 4th Annual Walk the Talk session at the Evaluation 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Around 40 conference goers joined our TIG in this year’s walk, which visited the Georgia Justice Project (GFP) office. GJP works to strengthen the community by demonstrating a better way to represent and support individuals in the criminal justice system and reduce barriers to reentry. They promote innovative change through direct legal representation, policy advocacy, education and coalition building. . In addition, GJP’s advocacy efforts focus on changing counter-productive laws that keep people with a criminal record from becoming economically self-sufficient following an arrest or conviction. After the session in GJP, some attendees explored the King Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and then rode the Atlanta Streetcar, the new light rail serving this area. Everyone left with great enthusiasm for the work that evaluators could be doing to support innovation and change in criminal justice systems so that everyone enjoys due process, adequate representation, and the supports needed to live a productive life after prison.
AEA 2015 (Chicago, IL)- Walk the Talk event: Toxic Tour in La Villita with The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
LVEJO was founded in 1994 by public school parents who learned about the potential exposure of their children to dangerous particles during school renovations at Joseph E. Gary Elementary. After forcing the school administration to change their plans, these parents turned their attention to other issues of environmental justice in Little Village.
The mission of LVEJO is to organize with our community to accomplish environmental justice in Little Village and achieve the self-determination of immigrant, low-income, and working-class families. LVEJO's vision is to build a sustainable community that promotes the healthy development of youth and families, provides economic justice, and practices participatory democracy and self-determination. LVEJO’s theory of social change is centered upon the belief that when low income and people of color understand the root causes of their experiences of oppression, they have the power and agency to transform society.
AEA 2014 (Denver, CO)- Walk the Talk event with the Women's Bean Project
Women’s Bean Project is a nationally-recognized social enterprise that has created transitional employment in gourmet food and jewelry manufacturing for chronically unemployed and impoverished women for 25 years. Our business is designed to provide immediate income, arrange support services to overcome barriers to employment, and teach the job readiness and life skills needed to find and keep employment. Women's Bean Project is where a woman earns her future - for herself, her family, her community and our economy. Products made by Women’s Bean Project over the last 25 years include handcrafted, limited-edition jewelry and gourmet food items for bean soup, chili, cookies and brownies, corn bread, dips, mixes, salsas, gluten-free items, and more. Products are sold through our website, as well as through various online retailers and stores across the United States.
AEA 2013 (Washington DC)- Walk the Talk event with ONE DC
ONE DC (formerly Manna CDC) was founded in 1997 in the midst of neighborhood change. From early on, ONE DC's approach to community development addressed structural causes of poverty and injustice, an orientation that stemmed from deep analysis of race, power, and the economic, political, and social forces at work in Shaw and the District. As a result, ONE DC’s organizing work centers on popular education, community organizing, and alternative economic development projects. In its history, ONE DC has distinguished itself as one of a few organizations in Washington, DC that moves beyond service provision to build sustainable community capacity and leadership so that low-income people of color can speak for themselves. ONE DC promotes leadership that does not tell others what to do but helps them take charge to build their abilities and skills. Finally, ONE DC recognizes that leadership cannot exist without the support and power of the whole community. Central to ONE DC’s leadership style is the identification and dismantling of systemic influences such as racism, classism, and sexism that manifest both individually and institutionally.
Thank you to ONE DC and the 40 plus folks who joined us on our first ever AEA Community Psychology TIG community walk!