"At last the Dodo said, 'Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'
An incredible thing happened at the AATA business meeting at this year's convention, and Lonni Ann Fredman was there to witness it. This is her story, her account, taken from our correspondence.
Rewind button please!
During the caucus meeting, for those who may or may not have been there, there were some strong concerns that had been resurrected regarding a call to action for an SJ oriented Plenary at the conferences going forward. This motion had been established in years past, long before SJC appeared. To make a long story short, the issue would be raised again at this year's business meeting, and this is what transpired. Hold onto your safety rails, it's a pretty fantastic thing!
"Whereas there has been limited representation of social justice and multicultural issues at the national conference, the American Art Therapy Association Board recommends that the conference committee considers including at least one plenary session on diversity and social justice issues each conference." The vote was nearly unanimous, with one or two people voting "no" out of a room of perhaps a hundred or so.
Barbara and Sanveet were very eloquent in presenting the resolution, with Savneet including how the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association have long had Social Justice components and it's time AATA did, too. Then long-time respected AATA people Randy Vick, Michael Franklin, and Lynn Kapitan (the Art Therapy Journal editor) added strong supporting statements plus a board member stood up and asked why it was even necessary to say "considers"--her comment might have been after the time to amend had passed. I believe Jordan Potash, who has been very active with social justice issues, shared that a similar proposal had been presented in 2005 or 2007 and rejected then and so noted that we've come a long way. Lynn noted that in the past she might have thought such a proposal would interfere with the program committee's mission but no more, it is absolutely necessary that we have such presentations. Randy and Michael spoke of a film that was shown during this conference that wouldn't have been shown if there had been a stronger social justice/diversity filter (I think it had to do with a retirement village or program that was very expensive). After the vote [...] I expressed my hope that many people will submit social justice and diversity proposals to next year's conference and also that art therapists in San Antonio can bring local people to present with them so the conference can have a grassroots presence and reflect work happening in the local communities via the voices of the people carrying it out/participating in it."
And so there you have it; progress. It's a beautiful thing. I do think the Dodo was right.