Council on Cultural, Ethnic and Racial Affairs



CERA's mission is to represent issues of cultural diversity and promote the concerns of people of color as a focus of community research and intervention; to promote training and professional development of people of color interested in community psychology; to advise the Executive Committee on matters of concern to people of color; and to inform and educate the Executive Committee regarding the implications of decisions as they pertain to people of color. 

Chair: Jesica Siham Fernández, Santa Clara University

Chair-elect: Dominique Thomas      


Each month CERA will bring to the "spotlight" one of our members to highlight the great work they are doing on campus and in our communities.
This month, we showcase: Dr. Christina M. Smith, PhD, LCSW
Affiliation: National Louis University
Research Interests:
have a broad range of experience in the advancement of race, gender, and LGBTQ equity through clinical, administrative, community organizing and consultancy positions. I have worked to integrate my approach as a clinical social worker, practitioner, a community builder, activist, and now an emerging community psychologist. Although I am flexible, I would like to move into a position within higher education as either faculty or an academic position with an emphasis on teaching, research, or administration. 
Current Position: 
As Manager of a behavioral health and substance use division within a Federally Qualified Health Center. I currently lead an interdisciplinary team in providing integrative care for underserved populations across several communities throughout the Chicagoland area. I start the day by responding to productivity reports, patient alerts. The remainder of the day is divided between a mix of meetings, team interaction and supports, working through project deliverables, and direct interface with patients. 
Alignment with CERA’s Mission:
I was a co-founder, and board President for more than 13 years of one of the longest standing institutions committed to the advocacy and activism for black queer women and LGBTQ youth (Affinity Community Services, in Chicago). The organization developed models for community building across the age continuum, in areas focused on health promotion and youth development, and did so in collaboration with, as well as sometimes in resistance to, White LGBTQ and heterosexual/cisgender Black communities. Affinity has maintained this focus for more than 23 years through its mission and institutional presence locally and nationally. I think that it is important to recognize what LGBTQ organizations focused in communities of color have been doing over the years that really help to elevate how we can all approach racial justice more broadly.  
An examination of social, political, and economic injustices cannot be separated from longstanding deeply held beliefs, prejudices, and discriminatory practices related to race and ethnicity. The advancement of solutions in confronting these injustices must be rooted in the recognition of the lived experiences often shaped by these ideologies, institutional and structural barriers. The work of CERA remains a vital contribution to the field of Community Psychology, and beyond, by also applying many of the philosophies and strategies I have relied on in my activism and research. 
Lessons Learned:
The bridge between legal and substantive changes in the lived experiences of communities of color and those committed to racial justice and equity is long, but the journey is necessary. 
Goals & Aspirations: 
As a recent graduate in Community Psychology, I am interested in pursuing research focused on community organizing approaches, evaluative practices, and theories of change utilized for institutions working towards racial justice and equity for black and queer communities. I am particularly interested in advancing research and praxis within the areas of black queer leadership, activism, movement and institution building. 

Words of Wisdom & Inspiration to CERA Members and Others:
"In June 2018, I completed my PhD in Community Psychology from National Louis University, Chair, Judah Viola, PhD, committee members, Bianca D.M. Wilson, PhD, and Bradley Olson, PhD. I am excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to contributing to the evolving research and practice within the field."
Thank you Chris for sharing your passions & commitment to social justice!


Information on DACA

Making Caring Common 

Communicating with Competence

Race and Ethnicity-Psychology Today

In other News! 

  • The Community Psychologist - Please consider submitting your piece to the next issue of The Community Psychologist! The deadline to submit is November 15, 2018.
  • MENTORING WEBINARS - Please be on the look out for upcoming webinars. If you are interested in organizing or co-facilitating a webinar, please reach out to Jesica or Dominique. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THESE WEBINARS, PLEASE CONTACT Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar



  • Friday, August 17 at 10am
  • Friday, September 21 at 11am PST / 2pm EST
  • Friday, October 19 at 11m PST / 2pm EST
  • Friday, November 16 at 11am PST / 2pm EST
  • Friday, December 7 at 11am PST / 2pm EST

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Telephone: 1-408-638-0968 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 375 758 797

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 We are always on the look out for new members! For more information or how to join, contact

If you're attending the 2018 International Community Conference! We'd love to know -- and connect with you in Santiago, Chile! The International CP Conference will be a great opportunity to connect with scholars from across the globe engaged in social justice oriented research and practice, committed to liberation, decolonial/anti-colonial, and anti-oppressive work. Please let CERA know if you're heading to Chile! 
Please be on the look out for information on the 2019 SCRA Biennial Conference to take place in Chicago, IL from June 26 to 29. If any one is interested in organizing a panel, symposium or other gatherings in collaboration with CERA, please let Jesica or Dominique know. We want to CERA issues of racial and social justice represented at the next biennial, and the presence of CERA's membership and contributions.