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How the APA Built an Apology Rooted in Historic Research

APA decided to bring in a task force

When a large organization like the American Psychological Association (APA) takes a bold step—such as apologizing for the organization’s contributions to systemic racism, which it did last fall—the effort can require a lot of hands along the way.

Some of those hands belonged to historians. To help build a meaningful apology that was grounded in truth, APA decided to bring in a task force specializing in historical research.

“It was critical for us to do our research, so that we would understand how the field of psychology was used as a conduit to displace, dispossess, and in a lot of ways also exploit communities of color,” said APA Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Maysa Akbar. “There were opportunities we saw to really highlight this history.”

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