Society for the Study of Human Development

SSHD Statement on Current Events

Dear SSHD members: 

America is currently undergoing profound grief, anger and reflection. This state of despair and the accompanying protests happening around the country follow from the unjust death, once again, of a black American man at the hands of authorities. The nation-wide protests are an attempt to initiate change at the larger systemic level. These actions affect everyone, and all of our voices and efforts are needed to move history and build a just nation. The legacy of racial discrimination and growing patterns of inequality across multiple social groups are also reflected in the disproportionate effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people of color and other vulnerable populations. They are also apparent in the lack of a unified, national strategy to address the multi-level challenges that accompany this pandemic. The Society for the Study of Human Development (SSHD) promotes developmental research, education, and public policy that emphasizes the links between individuals, families and the larger social structures in which they live. The developmental science that SSHD promotes is meant to maximize individual and community well-being across the lifespan/life course. Systemic problems, such as police brutality and the differential burden of the COVID-19 epidemic in vulnerable groups, call for systemic solutions, and we would encourage members of the SSHD community and the broader research, education, and public policy communities to work towards creating opportunities that will ensure that black lives matter at all ages. For only when black lives matter will all lives matter. We advocate the application of developmental science as a means to emerge from this sorrowful time as a more democratic and equitable society, one where everyone can breathe freely.

To this end, SSHD is undertaking the following initiatives. 

1.    Our flagship journal Research in Human Development will continue to publish special issues on developmental research focused on underserved minorities.  

2.    The SSHD Steering Committee will vote on making the Diversity Science Initiative a standing committee of the Society. 

3.    Applied activities and future conferences will incorporate community outreach and address matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion via speakers or collaborative sessions with local agencies/communities.

4.    SSHD will support and initiate developmental research that advances issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We welcome your suggestions for ways SSHD members and committees can make an impact on this issue. Please contact sshd.contact@gmail.com

We welcome comments and suggestions. 

The Steering Committee

Society for the Study of Human Development