About the SJC

THE PURPOSE of the Art Therapy Social Justice Caucus (SJC) is to raise consciousness in the art therapy profession, our workplaces, and our communities around issues of social justice. It is the intent of the caucus to provide a platform for discussion and networking as well as an incubator for actions initiated by our members and in collaboration with others.
The SJC serves as a framework and forum for community members to take action as they see fit. Any SJC community member may propose, initiate, and take a leadership role in the direction of activities regarding social justice issues. A facilitator or team of facilitators holds the space to be used by the membership as needed. 
GOALS of the Art Therapy Social Justice Caucus are:
  • extend the social justice lens to all of the activities of the American Art Therapy Association, including providing support for art therapists involved in social justice activities,
  • create a presence for public commentary of how issues of social justice would benefit from a unique art therapy perspective (and vice-versa),
  • provide a social justice perspective to all aspects of the annual conference of the American Art Therapy Association - which constitutes the AATA's largest expenditure and major interface with the membership.
The SJC is a fluid organization, existing dually under the title "Social Justice Shared Interest Group" within the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), and "Art Therapy Social Justice Caucus" outside of AATA. We maintain this group both within and outside of AATA because our community includes folks who are members of AATA, as well as folks who are not.
The SJC utilizes a two-tiered leadership system.
The Leadership Team provides active facilitation & support for members. Current Leadership Team members are:
  • Cassie Hamrick
  • Brittney Washington
  • M Ryan Noble
The Advisory Council provides advice and support to the Leadership Team, per availability. Current Advisory Council members are:
  • April Fitzpatrick
  • Savneet Talwar
  • Lonni Ann Fredman
  • Pat Allen
  • Wayne Ramirez
  • Shelly Goebl-Parker
  • Michaela Kirby
  • Jeannette Perkal
Leadership Team members can be reached via email at socialjusticearttherapy@gmail.com // socialjusticearttherapy [at] gmail [dot] com


The Art Therapy Social Justice Caucus was formed in 2010 in response to hotel workers’ boycott at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, the location of the AATA Annual Conference that year. Pat Allen authored a resolution which was enthusiastically passed at the 2010 AATA conference business meeting charging the Board of Directors to take issues of social justice into consideration when making decisions on behalf of AATA.
Founding members + previous leaders:
Pat Allen, Barbara Fish, Lonni Ann Fredman, Sara Giba, Shelly Goebl-Parker, Savneet Talwar, Janis Timm-Bottos
Primary organizing initiatives (past + ongoing):
  • Focus Groups 
    • The SJC hosts an annual Focus Group at each AATA conference for members to connect with each other around Social Justice issues.
  • Action Incubator 
    • The SJC served as an incubator for the resolution proposed by Wayne Ramirez and accepted by the membership at the business meeting of the 2016 AATA Conference in Baltimore for AATA chapters to address diversity in art therapy educational programs.
    • The SJC continues to hold space for members to organize actions, write resolutions, gather, and support one another through both in-person and digital platforms.
  • Conference & Hotel Accountability 
    • Providing a social justice perspective to all aspects of the annual conference on the part both of AATA and of the conference site/hotel. In 2013-14, advocated for AATA to change conference hotel location, due to boycott by hotel workers’ union. SJC subsequently provided procedural guidelines to AATA, to ensure hotel accountability.
  • Collaboration
    • Collaboration with the AATA Multicultural Committee (2013)
      • Successfully advocated together at the business meeting of the 2013 AATA Conference in Seattle with a resolution for the inclusion in each annual conference of at least one SJ-related plenary focusing on social justice and multicultural issues.
    • The SJC liaised with and provided consultation for the AATA's Marketing and Communication Committee (2014-16).


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