Dear Division 16 Members,

We would like to congratulate the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for their outstanding conference this past February of 2023. The theme Radical Hope and Authentic Healing was put on display in every way throughout the Denver convention. The keynote speaker, Dr. Shawn Ginwright, reminded us of the profound truth that an excessive focus on the harms of racism overlooks the true strengths of communities and people who experience chronic marginalization. His story about his mother growing up in a small shed in Florida and the beauty and resilience she displayed brought multiple people to tears, but served as a poignant reminder to find the strengths, beauty, and perseverance in the families of our students who struggle in schools.

The NASP event was marred by an incident at the Denver Hyatt Regency, one of the convention hotels. As described in NASP’s statement to members, their president Dr. Celeste Malone was hosting an event with many other school psychologists of color in her presidential suite. Further facts highlighted in the letter included two White Hyatt security staff abruptly ending the gathering 30 minutes prior to the start of the hotel’s quiet hours, requiring invited guests to provide ID, and insisting on staying until all guests left the suite. This disruption came despite the fact that the members of the gathering were doing nothing wrong. The United States core principle that we are all created equal and deserve equal treatment regardless of our background has once again been violated by this act of racism. The Hyatt hotel has created a rift – a tearing of the soul of our profession by this racist action.

Division 16 recognizes and appreciates the words of the president of the Trainers of School Psychology, Dr. Stacy Williams, who posted that such events could not and should not interfere with the joy of this historical conference. Dr. Malone and others directly affected by this incident continued to display joy, leadership, and hope for the thousands of school psychologists who became despondent over the egregious incident. Even in the face of oppressive actions, we admire and are grateful for the strength, grace, and relentless leadership of our colleagues of color, indigenous backgrounds and those who represent other forms of diversity.

We also stand with the NASP in their call for the Hyatt Hotel corporation to repair the rift that their racist action created. As NASP has written on their website, this repair must include:

  1. A public, genuine apology to Dr. Malone
  2. Refunding all room charges and fees to Celeste’s invited guests to the party
  3. Direct compensation to Dr. Malone
  4. Substantive donations to the NASP Minority Scholarship Program, Howard University (to be determined by Dr. Malone), and the Black School Psychology Network.

We are pleased that the Hyatt released an apology letter on 2/14/2023 and outlined intent to engage to honor some of the requested provisions letter. Failure to honor NASP’s request, to follow through with their commitment to restitution, and to engage in restorative practices would condone bias and lack of cultural sensitivity displayed by the hotel’s employees.

This statement is made solely on behalf of APA Division 16: School Psychology.

In solidarity,

The Executive Board of APA Division 16: School Psychology
The Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs of APA Division 16: School Psychology

Please share and distribute widely. Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Anna C. Long, Chair of CEMA at; members of the presidential trio [Dr. Michelle M. Perfect (, President; Dr. David Hulac (, Past President; Dr. Robyn Hess (, President-Elect]; or any executive board member of APA Division 16: School Psychology.