Caucusing at ACPA

What is caucusing at ACPA?

For the first time, ACPA Annual Convention attendees will engage in racial justice and decolonization caucusing.  Each day throughout Convention, members meet with their colleagues to reflect on and discuss their lived experiences, work through tough conversations in community, and strategize ways to engage in personal and professional racial justice and decolonization action.  These guided caucus sessions provide necessary and important opportunities for growth and reflection. Our wish is all convention attendees engage in all caucus groups throughout the week.

  • At one point each day, members have the opportunity to be in community with people who identify similarly with regards to race to them. The groups we are hosting include:
    • Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian/Asian American, Black/African American, International members, Latinx, Multiracial/Biracial/Transracial, Native American/Indigenous/Aboriginal, Pacific Islander, White, and Third Space. The third space option is for people who do not identify with any of the set caucus groups for any reason.
    • Multiracial/biracial/transracial attendees can move between groups that match their identities.
    • People who identify as White or have White privilege because they present as White may attend the White caucus group.

During these sessions, members are provided with guiding questions they can use to explore topics related to racial justice and decolonization or, as a collective, the group may decide another topic related to their identities is important to explore.

As a result of caucusing, members should:

  1. Explore a deeper understanding of their own racial/political identities (please visit the Caucus Syllabus on decolonization for more information on the use of ‘political identity’ in this context)
  2. Connect with colleagues who engage in solidarity work toward racial justice and decolonization
  3. Engage with issues of power, privilege, and oppression in order to interrupt dominance
  4. Begin to individually and collectively develop strategies that move the self and field toward liberation and social change

Caucusing FAQs

How do you sign up for a caucus?

Each member will register for caucusing during convention registration. Members can select up to three groups (primary, secondary, tertiary).  The terms primary, secondary, and tertiary are not meant to recognize the salience level of identity, rather to notate to the planning team where you are most likely to spend your time (i.e., do your own work around racial justice and decolonization) during convention for logistical planning purposes. During convention, you will be able to move between rooms and change groupings in line with your identity and need.

What if I didn’t sign up for a caucus?

If you did not sign up for a caucus when registering, the rooms of each caucus group will be listed in the Guidebook App and Convention Program Book. You may join the caucus group that aligns with your identity.

When do caucuses take place?

Caucuses take place each day during convention. Please refer to your schedule for any updates regarding caucusing. Caucuses are currently scheduled for:

12 March- 1:30-2:30pm

13 March- 10:00-11:00am

14 March- 8:30-9:30am

What if I want to do something else during a caucus time?

Members are free to do anything they wish during the times assigned for caucusing. However, there is no formal convention programming planned during that time period. We highly encourage all members to attend caucusing events in order to build a community of practitioners/scholars who are working toward racial justice and decolonization in line with ACPA’s mission, values, and goals.

Who else is in my caucus?

Each caucus should be 3-10 people large and will only consist of people who share a racial/political identity with you. Identity is complex. Multiraciality, transracial identity, phenotypical variations, and other social forces means people in your group will look and have lived experiences that diverge from your understandings. This is welcome. Therefore, there may be people in your group who you do not perceive to be of the same identity. Your role as a caucus attendee is not to challenge any person’s “eligibility” to caucus with the group. Rather, one may inquire about a person’s experiences to better illuminate their story. Importantly, however, we do not condone any sort of “voyeurism” of people in a caucus group if you do not authentically identify with those in that identity group. See the next question for more specifics.

Can I engage in a caucus with a group of people with whom I do NOT identify with?

We do not condone any sort of “voyeurism” of people in a caucus group if you do not authentically identify with those in that identity group. These spaces are meant to be in-group spaces to process through the work of racial justice and decolonization and may be disrupted if a person who does not identify enters the space making that space an unsafe space for authentic dialogue.

Therefore, to attend a Black/African American caucus group, you must identify as Black/African American, etc. Multiracial/biracial/transracial attendees may move in between spaces that align with their multiple identities. The same is true for any other person who may have multiple identities in line with the caucus groups identified for this convention. Identity, particularly racial and political identity, is extremely complex and may cause dissonance for members who are not familiar with the wide array of identities and presentations of those identities. We encourage all members to refrain from judgment and policing of one’s identities and to enter caucus spaces open, inquisitive, and with care.  Caucus groups can be spaces to share stories and strategies toward solidarity for liberation.

If you feel that somebody does not belong in a particular group, please notify the facilitator of your group or room, and they will assess the situation.

I need to learn more about racial justice and decolonization. Where can I get more information?

The convention planning team is putting together a Caucus Syllabus. This syllabus is structured so each month, caucus attendees engage in self-guided learning around a set of topics leading up to caucusing at convention. We hope each person has an opportunity to utilize these resources for self-development as well as the development of their peers and colleagues. We encourage office or department-wide discussion groups centered around these readings. Attendees should work through the list of resources in order listed as the materials as they are provided in order of developmental complexity.

Will there be opportunities for continuing engagement around these topics after convention?

ACPA is preparing opportunities to continue the discussion on racial justice and decolonization.  There are currently plans to provide virtual caucus sessions post-convention.

Is there a place I can receive counseling services if I feel any sort of distress as a result of caucusing?

We encourage any members who are experiencing distress to visit their campus mental health service or their local mental health provider. If you require immediate services, you may call (775) 784-8090 or text “ANSWER” to 839863 for the Crisis Call Center 24/7/365 line. Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour crisis line often serves as the first point of contact for individuals who are seeking help, support, and information. This service is free.