Left to right: Min. Keith Mohammed, Muhammad Mosque Number 26; Dr Patricia Nunley; Rev Dr William Coleman – Restoring the Way of the Ancestors: Black Theology; Min. Greg Hodge- Wo’se Community Church; Dr Theopia Jackson – President-Elect for National ABpsi; Dr Huberta Jackson-Lowman President for National ABPsi; Dr Wade Nobles – founding member of ABpsi, and Rev J. Alfred Smith Jr. / Allen Temple Baptist Church. Not shown: Rev Andriette Earl – Heart and Soul Center of Light; Pastor Horacio Jones – Family Bible Fellowship; Rev Michael McBride – The Way Christian Center; Carol Burton, Interim Director, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services.
The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) opened with a reverent and celebratory tribute to the ancestors and a welcome to those present.
Presented by Daktari Dance Medicine Collective, 50 dancers, drummers, and cultural workers sprinkled medicine into the hearts and minds of those in the grand hall that night. From the welcome call, Fanga Alafia, to the “Invocation and Libation,” Diaspora dances Yanvalou, Parigol and Ogum and Spoken Medicine, the theme for the 50th Annual Conference, “Building for Eternity,” June 27-July 1, 2018, was evoked, ratified and confirmed.
Conference co-chairs Lawford Goodard, Ph.D., and Patricia Canson Griffith, Ph.D., thoughtfully planned what is certain to be one of the more historic gatherings of Diaspora Black scholars anywhere to date. [Constituent scholars were present from South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and England.
From workshops to poster presentations, awards luncheons honoring constituents and community members such as Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Coogler, Jason Shankle, Sr. and Annelle B. Primm, M.D., MPH, to the uniquely African Mbongi Assembly Talks, “Gathering of Stools Ceremony, Sunrise Ceremony: The Raising up of the Ancestors” and the “Multi-faith and Family Breakfast,” the 50th anniversary conference was an opportunity to look back, as Dr. Wade Nobles, co-founder of ABPsi, said, not with nostalgia but with a critical eye to see what of the past is worth retaining and what should be discarded.
Conference sessions and workshops include topic discussions such as “Trauma Informed Care for Black Families,” “African Centered Therapy in Practice: Integrating Practices of Spirit into Therapy,” “Depression, Stress and the Myth of the Black Super Woman, Racism and Clinical Supervision,” “Mentoring the Next Generation of Black Psychologists,” and “Navigating Blackness and Queerness in Black Spaces.”
Dr. Nobles and Dr. Cheryl Grills shared in their work the need to stay grounded in community practice. They said the clinician is not always the expert, because in most cases, the village holds the wisdom and with shared tools much more is accomplished. South African clinicians and scholars presented how traditional medicine and ethics is changing the treatment of the dominant culture.
It is a conscious decolonizing process which is fascinating in its reach and power.
Dr. Nobles also spoke of the colonial language used to name African ways of being, and its inadequacy. There is much left to do, but at 50 years old, ABPsi has certainly laid a mighty foundation and ought to be congratulated.