Professor Honors Social Justice Leaders in Special Section of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Dr. Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, aka CC, Associate Professor in Rutgers Graduate School of Education's department of Educational Psychology and editor of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (JMCD) has introduced, along with her colleague William D. Parham, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Associate Editor of the JMCD, a new section to the journal to document the voices and legacies of luminaries who have contributed to social justice and multicultural counseling.
“Hearing Our Elders” was introduced in JMCD’s 44th volume released in January 2016. The inaugural issue of the new section features an in-depth interview with the Honorable John Lewis and highlights his historic contributions. To date, a total of three interviews for the series have been conducted, all of which will be published in 2016.
Congressman Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. He was first elected to Congress in 1986 and has served as a U.S. Representative since that time. Prior to taking the oath of office, Lewis was a prominent national leader in the Civil Rights Movement, organizing sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters, and participating in the Freedom Rides, marches and protests. As Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), that he helped create, Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams attempted to lead peaceful marchers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demonstrate for voting rights. The day came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” after the protestors were met and attacked by Alabama state troopers. Congressman Lewis remains a relentless advocate for nonviolent demonstration and civil rights. He served as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and Director of the Voter Education Project. He was appointed by President Carter to lead the federal volunteer agency ACTION in 1977.
“Congressman Lewis and his contemporaries laid the foundation for multicultural counseling with their immeasurable contributions to social justice,” says Clauss-Ehlers. “We are taking an in-depth look at the messages our elders have for later generations to learn how we can contribute and promote the values in which they believe.”
To document the history of multicultural counseling and development, each article in the ongoing “Hearing our Elders” series will feature an interview with an eminent leader whose work has influenced the field. A related series goal is to provide the JMCD readership with a diverse, cross-section of luminaries. In the interview with Congressman Lewis, Clauss-Ehlers and JMCD guest editor Dr. William D. Parham illuminate “the social, environmental, and political contexts within which the multicultural counseling movement was born” and examine “how diverse communities contributed to the civil rights movement” (Parham, & Clauss-Ehlers, 2016, p. 5). “Congressman Lewis’s comments underscore the importance of the provision of mental health services and supports to all citizens in the society” (p. 16).
The “Hearing Our Elders” series is a component of the recent expansion of JMCD from 64 to 80 pages. The additional 64 pages annually allows the quarterly journal to publish longer manuscripts, thus making more space in the world for multicultural scholarship. The first expanded issue of the journal was distributed in January 2015. At the suggestion of Dr. Parham, Clauss-Ehlers, who began her term as editor of JMCD in 2011, is working with the Center for the History of Psychology Museum to archive the expansion of the journal as well as the audio and video recordings (when permitted) from the “Hearing Our Elders” interviews.
The American Counseling Association, who publishes the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, has made the first article of the series featuring the interview with Congressman Lewis, “Hearing Our Elders, Celebrating Our Elders Who Led Us Across the Bridge: A Call to Action for the Academy,” available to the public. The article, along with an introduction to this special issue, can be viewed for a limited time by visiting Clauss-Ehlers’s faculty profile page.
Acknowledgement: The Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development acknowledges Dean Blanchett’s support of this project.
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