Welcome and introduction

This issue highlights OEMA’s observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month and activities at the APA Annual Convention in Honolulu.

This September, OEMA joins Americans across the country as we observe the 30-day celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, starting on September 15th and ending on October 15th. September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; and the independence days of Mexico and Chile (September 16th and 18th respectively ) follow close behind. As we celebrate and honor the culture and heritage of Hispanic/Latino communities, we also want to raise awareness concerning some of the challenges that these communities frequently face. This month, our focus on the deleterious influence of stress continues. Through our Ethnicity and Health in American Series (EHAS), OEMA is sponsoring a community workshop to highlight the chronic condition of stress among Latina/o populations. The workshop entitled All in The Familia: The Shared Impact of Immigration and Acculturative Stress is hosted in partnership with the DC’s Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs and faculty members from nearby institutions. Detailed updates of additional APA and OEMA activities, announcements and calls are provided in the pages to follow. 

In fact, this entire issue is designed to serve as a digest of some APA sessions and activities that were particularly relevant to psychologists and communities of color, which took place during APA's 121st Annual Convention, in Honolulu. We begin with a detailed account of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs’ (CEMA) 21st Annual Invitational Breakfast written by APA PI-GRO staff, Stefanie Reeves, MA. In this account, Reeves describes the eloquent keynote address on health disparities and the impact of health reform on Native Hawaiian populations given by former United States Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai’i, and tells of the APA Presidential citation presented by Josephine D. Johnson, PhD, of the APA Board of Directors to Sen. Akaka during the breakfast. This account is followed by a recap of the educational luau hosted by Div. 35, 45 and 17, written by Wendy Peters, PhD, president of Div. 35, Section 6, and an article detailing a convention session on the cultural appropriateness of APA’s Ethics Code, written by Gayle Skawennio Morse, PhD, Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP) Delegate to APA Council of Representatives and Art Blume, PhD, SIP president-elect. We also include a brief update of the most recent meeting held at the convention from the Ethnic Minority Interest (EMI) Caucus of APA’s Council of Representatives by EMI Caucus Chair Helen A. Neville, PhD. We close our summary of convention activities by highlighting the various sessions that were held to discuss the Trayvon Martin verdict. Sessions were held by Div. 45 and 51, with articles written by Luis A. Vazquez, PhD, president, APA Div. 45 and Christopher T. H. Liang, PhD, president, APA Div. 51. Blog posts on the case are also included following these articles.

I want to extend a sincere thanks to all of the contributors to this issue, including the OEMA staff that has had to adjust to a much more frequent publication schedule. I also greatly appreciate the work of my colleagues who provide high quality contributions on a voluntary basis, despite extremely busy schedules. Please know that your commitment and support of our office is never overlooked or minimized.

I want to close with a very brief reflection on this year’s convention experience. Those of us who were able to make it to the convention were enlightened by the knowledge of our colleagues during the day and inspired by the beauty and culture of Hawai’i in the afternoon/evening. For those of you who were unable to join us in Hawai’i this year, I hope that a small amount of the wonder and enjoyment we experienced comes through in the pages that follow. I find fellowship with like-minded colleagues extremely invigorating, and I always leave the convention energized to serve as an advocate and champion of issues particularly salient for psychologists and communities of color. I know many of you feel the same way, so I look forward to seeing you next year in Washington, D.C. 

Senior Director Tiffany G. Townsend, PhD, Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs