Let's Be the Change We Want to See
We were reminded of the fact that every dollar we spend has implications for justice in the world. While we know members expect AATA to negotiate for the 'best' rates for us, it is time we look at what that means. The simple raising of labor issues when negotiating the contracts for our meetings raises awareness. Unite Here gave us a guide for negotiating such contracts with workers considerations in mind which we have passed on to Susan. As consumers, every dollar we spend is a choice and the choices made by our professional organization are our responsibility as well. I made a resolution, which was enthusiastically passed, at the 2010 AATA conference (honestly I forget the careful wording, next post!) charging the BOD to take issues of social justice into consideration when making decisions on our behalf. What I learned in the process is that without such language being in our mission statement, the BOD can't actually officially do so.
Other groups are waking up to this issue, the American Sociological Association just pulled their August 2011 conference out of Hyatt Hotels in Chicago because of the poor labor practices as reported in the Chicago Tribune yesterday.
There are many directions this work can take and I hope many of you will step up and embrace different aspects. This blog is the first step in a dialogue about social justice in art therapy. What does that look like? Many of us are engaged in related work in our daily lives. How can our profession begin to take the lead and share our knowledge to raise awareness? What is already being done by our members and how can we highlight that? I invite you to check out the websites of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and Counselors for Social Justice both groups have been at this a long time and we have much to learn.
Please post your thoughts and commentaries here. There were over 100 people at a 7:00 am forum on art therapy and social issues that I facilitated at the conference, the time is now! Let's be the change we wish to see.
Pat B. Allen, Ph.D., ATR, HLM