BY: ANTHONY AYALA
Community and psychology come together in Dé Bryant’s work. On Thursday, Oct. 25, Bryant spoke at the final Psychology Club meeting of the year, focusing on her social justice work.
Dé Bryant is the Director of Social Action Project (SOCACT) and an IU Bend Ambassador. Bryant is also a part of the Parliament of World Religions. Bryant has been working with IU South Bend since 1990 and her focus is community psychology.
Bryant describes community psychology as right at the intersection of clinical psychology political science and sociology. SOCACT works alongside a team of IU South Bend students and community members to conduct community psychology.
“I just graduated my whole research team and I am always happy about graduation. What it means for me is that I am now reconstituting my team. This happens every five or six years,” Bryant said.
The new team of student researchers will continue the three initiatives SOCACT has established: Public Intellectuals, Interfaith Intervention and the School to Prison Pipeline.
The Public Intellectual initiative is a public forum where people are brought together to discuss various issues. The next public intellectual, Lessons From a Life, will be held at the Civil Rights Heritage Center on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. The event will focus on Pauli Murray an American civil rights activist, feminist, lawyer, priest, and poet. Murray was not being discussed until four or five years ago.
“Pauli Murray was an astounding individual in the history of the Feminist movement, Civil rights movement, and labor movement. She was right at the heart of all of these different things. All three of these movements have overlooked her in history in part because she is transgender,” Bryant said.
The Interfaith Intervention was two years in the making and was held over three and a half days in July. The intervention was meant to examine how to get people motivated and organized to empower themselves to address what prevents them from seeking out a psychologist. One reason the event took so long to come together was Bryant and her team had to convince the various faith leaders to participate.
“The important thing was we found this small group of people who recognize the influence of an interfaith initiative that we will be working with over the next number of months to define what that initiative will look like,” she said.
The School to Prison Pipeline. Research shows that students of color are suspended and expelled at hugely different rates from white students. Some even four or five times as often. Dr. Bryant argues the rates are a result of biases in educators and administration that are taught and trained. Dr. Bryant and her team are involved in Community Action for Education. This organization works on educating parents, educating neighborhoods and the school system.
“It became part of a presentation that we did at Midwest psychological association. The work that we did also become a part of the information that was collected by the department of justice to examine what is the status of the desegregation order here in South Bend. We argued that they have not yet met the requirements yet. Whether we built a strong enough case is something we have to wait to hear about,” she said.
If you are interested in participating in SOCACT contact Dr. Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org and consider enrolling in her Community Psychology, P434 course.