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ABPsi Hosts 4th Annual Black America Program

By Brett Wilson | February 21, 2014

Particpants in the Black America Program study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) continues urging its community to keep moving forward in the pursuit of equality.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, American Black Psychologists (ABPsi) Student Circle hosted the fourth annual Black America program, "Cultural Perceptions: Family Constellations and Societal Implications."

"The best predictor of the future is past performance," said Dr. LaTrelle Jackson, SPC associate professor, as she welcomed the program's attendees. "Black Americans have demonstrated all of these traits in the past—and now it's time to determine what role we will have in the future."

The evening was filled with song, dance and mime ministry. The event also featured a panel discussion with special guests including Dr. Portia Rawles '01 (SPC) and Dr. Vickey Maclin, of South University; Leroy Martin, a mentor and counselor; and Rodney Greene, a graduate of Norfolk State University.

In addition to group activities and songs, Natasha Saunders, a career and life coach, spoke on the positive effects of individual coaching she gives clients on their family's lives. She explained that success is obtained in four ways: mentorship, sponsorship, guidance and negotiation. Besides her life-coaching career, she also serves on the Leadership Faculty at Northeastern University, and the Gender & Women Studies faculty for the University of Rhode Island.

In an effort to practice what she teaches, Saunders uses her time and professional resources helping others through this process.

"You need people in your life that will advocate on your behalf, and connect you to important players and assignments in your field," said Saunders. "Who in your life can pick up the phone and say, 'you need to meet this person?'"

Hannah Jones—a Psy.D. student in SPC who also serves as president of Regent's ABPsi chapter—explained that the Black America program was particularly meaningful to her. As the evening unfolded, she was able to witness members of Regent engaged in discussion about important topics in the African American community.

"Events like this are important because they spark initiative, ignite a sense of responsibility for carrying out the next steps and fuel a desire to follow through from discussion to action," Jones said.

Jones explained that the results of the evening were a "call to action," hoping to push those in attendance toward the accomplishment of the goals that were established during the Civil Rights movement.

"This event reinforced the fact that unifying the body of Christ is important in many different contexts—here, specifically, in the uplifting of the African American family and community," said Jones. "It served as a reminder that persons from every demographic have an important role in supporting this goal, and that the relevance of 'the Dream' transcends ethnic background."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

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