We began discussions on this project in late 2019 with no expectations that within six months or less the world would be under siege by the Covid-19 pandemic that spread like wildfire, tearing apart families, communities, cities, and countries. By March of 2020 the world had retreated, those that could, from office spaces, classrooms, theaters, retail stores, banks, and other physical spaces and remote work from teaching to mental health therapy became the norm. Times had indeed changed, yet this change prompted an even more dire need to better understand the dynamics of what it means to be a community practitioner in America and around the world. Black and Brown communities have experienced the brunt of Covid-19, the result of health disparities and other racial policies and practices long in existence, but not uncommon, that continue to be “pushed under the rug”. Not only was the world dealing with the pandemic but America was also feeling the effects of civil and racial unrest with the murders of Black/African American individuals by the hands of white police and white supremacists in Louisville, Kentucky, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Macon, Georgia captured on video and viewed by millions. There seemed to be no relief from these tragedies and the insurrection on the nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2021 stood out as a bastion of what a nation had been struggling to confront since 1619. Yet, the power, spirit, and souls of people across the nation and around the world could not be stifled or stilled. This book emerges as a testament to the courage, perseverance, and conviction of people who live in our communities around the world and that’s pretty much all of us. We intend for this book to be evidence of when people come together bringing all facets of their diversity to the table, in celebration, not toleration, the world is enriched and better for it.
I (Dr. Palmer) speak for all of us editors when I share it has been an honor and privilege to work alongside of the Rebus Pressbooks’ team, specifically Apurva Ashok, who diligently showed up each month for a year to help guide us through the technical aspects on our journey of creating something we would be proud of, our magnificent team of authors who patiently revised and revised again their case stories after editor and peer-reviews, our peer-reviewers, and our graphic designer, Jay Hart who never complained as he went back to the drawing table time and time again to create a cover we could all say “yes” to. This book is also very much the product of Rebus Pressbooks, Community Wellness Institute, LLC, Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) and Textbook Academic and Authors (TAA) Association whose grants allowed us to cover production expenses. Our gratefulness is unparalleled to our contributors: Dr. Jacqueline Samuel, Dr. Amber Kelly, Kathleen McAuliff, Dr. Dessie Clark, Joshua Brown, Dr. Susan Wolfe, Dr. Kyrah Brown, Justin M. Henry, Claudy Jean Pierre, Tamaya Bailey, Jerrise Smith, Dr. Deidra Somerville, Ramy Barhouche, Dr. Judi Aubel, Dr. Anna Pruitt, Eva McKinsey, Tien Austin, John P. Barilea, Dr. Patricia O’Connor and Dr. August Hoffman. Equally as important, this book would not exist if not for the individuals, families and everyone else within all of the communities highlighted coming together with community psychologists and allied practitioners striving to create inclusive, equitable spaces in which every single human being gets to live their lives in full dignity and peace. Importantly, I (Geri Palmer) want to take time to acknowledge and publicly thank my co-editors, Dr. Judah Viola, Todd Rogers, and Maronica Engel. I am humbled by your willingness to jump into this project, lean in and give your gifts and talents that make it the great work that it is. I look forward to all the new adventures that await us. I know a community when I see one. Thank you.
We also acknowledge that this work is partially inspired by the team of Lenny Jason, Olya Glantsman, Jack F. O’Brien, and Kaitlyn Ramian (2019) who created their Introduction to Community Psychology Textbook in Rebus Pressbooks of which Judah Viola and I (Dr. Palmer) and a couple of our contributors are authors of chapters. We were excited about its dynamic nature, look and feel which in part, prompted our decision to create our work in Rebus Pressbooks.
There is an insurgence around the world as many scholars, practitioners, scholar-activists, activists, abolitionists, and more are fueled by social and racial justice convictions and led and guided by social movements of the past. This book represents a new time, as over 50% of the contributing authors and two of the editors identify as Black/African American or People of Color. We expect this diverse make-up to be the norm and not the exception and is intentional giving us hope that our future within community practice and all other spaces will look different. We hope you see yourself as teacher, student or practitioner, where it won’t be uncommon to help heal communities that you may have never stepped foot in before, hold space with groups of people who look or think nothing like you, to work alongside, not for , and share your lenses for others to see through. May you be someone who is forever inspired by the power of community and you don’t think twice about helping others “change the world, one community at a time.”