Anthony P. Young, Psy.D. — Founding Member and President
I periodically re-articulate motivations for membership and service to the Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists (D-RMABPsi). As we near the completion our 43rd year as a chapter of the international ABPsi the time is right to list some of the motives for belonging to the ABPsi.
First is the question of our debt. We each have a debt to the members of the ABPsi and the Black Student’s Psychological Association (BSPA) who founded the ABPsi and who used old-fashion activism to force open the doors to graduate training programs. I know that I was qualified to enter the University of Denver and earn a Psy.D. However, many others were qualified before me, but the door of opportunity was closed to many of them. It was the Black Action Movement struggle throughout the USA that made it possible for qualified people of African descent to become trained psychologists. The founders of the ABPsi and activists within the BSPA made firm, clear, and urgent demands so that universities across this country began accepting people of African descent. Anyone who received his or her doctorate degree in Psychology after about 1970 carries this debt.
Another sense of debt is owed to the broader African American community. We would still be riding in the back of the bus were it not for the courage of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others who fought for our civil and human rights. Those of us who have benefited from that struggle must continue this legacy of struggle and of “beating the odds against the odds”. The struggle within the profession must continue to be waged on many fronts, especially within predominantly White schools and professional associations, but its strategic plan can only be developed within an authentic African centered context, and that context is the ABPsi.
My involvement with the ABPsi also motivated for personal and selfish reasons as I have enjoyed tremendous opportunities to develop keen leadership, clinical, community, and organizational skills, as well as being mentored and trained by some of the most talented, skilled, and compassionate psychologists on the planet. The ABPsi provides a unique arena to develop and display your skills. The D-RMABpsi has accomplished much over nearly 43 years, yet there remains much work to do to ensure that more skilled, community-minded, African- centered, “woke” Psychologists (and allied professionals) are available and committed to serving our community.