Murray Levine, a prominent figure in community psychology and one of its leading theorists, died May 4 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, NY, after a short illness. He was 92.
He served as president of the American Psychology Association’s Division of Community Psychology in 1999-2000 and received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1997, becoming the third person to receive the Seymour B. Sarason Award from the Society for Community Research and Action.
ECPA expresses its sincere condolences to the family and relatives of Murray Levine.
‘sixties’ brought something new from the US to Germany. Drive-In Cinemas became the ‘hot-spot’
for couples, lovers and families and they could stay in their car. In the late eighties most Drive-In Cinemas have been
abandoned due to new media.
As a corona-response to strengthen communities and families in many cities Drive-In Cinemas re-open; some cities even start new forms of Drive-In Cinemas. For many people and families today Drive-In Cinemas is a break in the lock-down routine while maintaining social distancing. For local cinemas and cultural events which have been shut down during the crisis and are suffering from economic breakdown, the new form of Drive-In Cinemas offers the opportunity to keep their customers and to maintain some income during the crisis.
Traditional forms of events are creatively re-invented and re-designed by going back to the basic social (cultural) needs of people. Lesson: if you focus on the basic needs your business is built upon instead of money and economic growth, you might be able to re-invent your business for a sustainable future. Of course there are barriers and challenges:
Drive-In cinemas are car-focussed, hence less ecologically sustainable. New ideas?
How can we integrate single people without cars while maintaining physical distancing?
How do we develop a sense of community in a Drive-In cinema? Community-building instead of commercials?
During the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, my own community near Boston, like a great many others, strongly encouraged residents to stay inside their homes. Not surprisingly, community members wanted to find ways to have visible contact with others, even if they couldn’t meet directly with them in person.
in town proposed an idea they called “6 Feet at 6PM.” Neighbors on a street were
encouraged to come outside their homes at 6:00 every evening, to wave, greet each other, and talk while maintaining a
distance of six feet or more. This would be a safe and healthy way to maintain
social contact under new and challenging circumstances.
local reports, many streets in town adopted this idea, some of them quite enthusiastically.
Residents clearly seemed to have a strong desire for personal social contact.
While it’s too early at this writing to know whether it will persist, the “6 Feet at 6PM” initiative is a good example of a creative response to a crisis situation. It satisfies a basic human need, it’s easy to do, it costs nothing, and it’s very adaptable to other community settings, perhaps including the reader’s own.
One resident bought some chalk for his children to use and started writing messages when it was a birthday or an anniversary; these messages of congratulations and solidarity can be seen from our second story windows.
Children from the area started adding portraits so that it looks like they are all holding hands, something that they cannot not do during lockdown. The idea was first started by children but soon it became a focus of the street, with every resident (including pets) being included in this collective portrait.
The street art was a welcome distraction during these unsettling times, which resulted in increased well-being and community identity on our street.
Creative means of connecting people can emerge when we are separated. Initiatives for children can have spill over effects to grown ups!
Shared by Suzanne Wilson, from the United Kingdom.
Leverett is a small rural town in Western Mass of 1700 people. Our local community building group, the Leverett Alliance, listening to community voices decided to launch a town wide list.serve. Until then the town had no way to connect, exchange info, etc.
In September we started to publicize by posting flyers, sitting at the dump and the Post Office. Within a few months we had 250 members. We then sent a postcard to every household showing how easy it was to sign up for free, and the number climbed. People used the list serve to ask for help offer help, etc.
Then corona virus hit the country and since then the number of folks engaged has grown (now over 425) and the exchanges are very moving. Making masks for each other, shopping for each other, going to the dump for each other, food delivery options, finding out when to shop at the stores, etc.
It has created a true sense of community and has addressed very concrete needs. Some have even started an “coyote howl” across the pond in the center of town to mimic some of the activity in Italy and elsewhere.
As one user observed: “Hi, everyone,I just picked up an absolutely delightful rainbow-striped mask from the Post Office Thank you, seamstresses and seamsters!Thanks, too, to the enlightened techies who set up Leverett Connects. Who could have known that it would become so crucial to so many of us?It is wonderful to live in this town.” (Annie Jones)
We have heard that list serves like this are working in
urban neighborhoods as well.
Story shared by Tom Wolff, from Massachusetts, USA.
PAEHL (Southern Bavaria, Germany) is a small community (2000 inhabitants) in a picturesque location south of Munich and close to the Alps.
Although it is well known for a rich community life (traditional music bands, soccer, clubs maintaining local traditions), the corona-lock-down came as a surprise. However, in a very short time after, the community came together to support the vulnerable groups.
The young people of the village formed a voluntary corona task force within two days after lock-down. The local mayor immediately started phone-calls to 200 (!) local inhabitants aged over 70, asking if they needed support on food supply or health services. Seniors have also been asked if they would like to receive regular phone-calls if they lived alone.
The local voluntary corona task force provided food supply and shopping services from day three after lock-down. Municipal administration is coordinating orders. The small local public library offered book deliveries on demand. Local administration sent out direct mailers to all households with information emergency phone numbers, health services during shut-down, where to buy local food or where to order hot meals delivered to households.
Based on a rich community life people are amazingly fast and creative to form community support systems. Collaboration of all sectors of everyday life (young and old, local shops and market gardens, libraries, community administration…) is key.
This story was shared by Wolfgang Stark, from Germany.
During the Covid-19 crisis, many individuals and communities have been resonating about new forms of sense of community, mutual support and neighbourhood, and also acting in a surprisingly creative manner, collaborating and re-inventing community life.
We would like to know what is going on and we want to capture community lessons for our society from these experiences.
Perhaps your own community has experienced a surprising situation or developed a distinctive response to the coronavirus outbreak. We encourage you to share your experience by answering our survey, accessible via the button below.
We aim to post these experiences in multiple sites (e.g., ECPA, SCRA, CTB, etc). We will also share the stories in a Facebook Group and later at the new webportal of the New Bank of Community Ideas and Solutions.
We hope this site may help to demonstrate the importance of community building in a time of crisis, and illustrate the many ways that community psychology and community action can make a contribution.
Remembering our shared moments and experiences will help to create a better world!
Wolfgang Stark (Germany); Bill Berkowitz, Tom Wolff and Bradley Olson (USA); Cinzia Albanesi and Caterina Arcidiacono (Italy); Maria Fernandes-Jesus and Maria Vargas-Moniz (Portugal).
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #5 Join the CPs “Fridays for coping with the Coronavirus pandemic”
We invite you to join our weekly CPs meetings. 31 participants across the world joined the conference call launched by Wolfgang Stark. See a short summary here. So it was decided that this could become a regular date for CPs. Each Fridays at 5pm (CET) Wolfgang Stark will host the meeting, regularly updates of the meeting will be published here, community psychologists across Europe and the rest of the world are invited to join.
Zoom-meeting will take place regularly on Friday at 5 pm CET. To attend please click here.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #4 Create a useful resource platform here
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #3 Share your stories of fear and hope on the ECPA Facebook page
We also invite you to share your stories of fears and hopes we are experiencing in our countries at ECPA’s Facebook page.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #2 Join the conference call launched by Wolfgang Stark ECPA-EFPA liaison member
Dear community psychology colleagues and friends,
In one of the most disruptive times of our lifetime and in our societies there is no doubt that our ‘sense of community‘ and our ability for mutual support may become a crucial factor how we will cope with a situation we never experienced before. This will be especially true for the weakest groups in our societies (see “Combating a Mental Health Pandemic“and attachments).
This may be the time when community psychology will be able to prove if our competencies and tools will be useful for real problems both locally and in a global scale. At the same time we are called for creative and immediate action to strengthen our communities towards a challenge we never experienced before. I wonder if you have similar thoughts and ideas.
If so, I would like to invite you to share your ideas, concerns, action, and experiences on what community psychology and community psychologists could contribute to strengthen the ‘sense of community’ facing isolation and social distance as a consequence of the corona pandemic.
If this makes sense to you, please join me for a community psychology Zoom call on Friday, March 20, 5 pm (CET). let us share ideas on how we can be supportive as community psychologists both on a local and global level. If you want to participate, please use the following link.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #1
We invite Community Psychologists to use their professional networks and competencies to support communities’ adoption of safety behaviours, to share useful (verified) information, and to help people, in particular those who are more fragile (i.e. homeless people, digital immigrants), to cope with the quarantine related measures and the psychological impact of the emergency. If you have materials, documents that you think may be useful to be shared please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org we will be happy to publish them on our website.
EFPA has shared some guidelines and possible actions for psychologists to deal with the COVID-19 emergency in its member associations in its homepage.
ECPA as an associate partner of EFPA recommends Community Psychologists in Europe to follow the guidelines on personal protection, environmental countermeasures, social distancing countermeasures and travel-related countermeasures provided by ECDC. The website provides daily updates on the situation.
On EFPA page there are also links to other useful resources related to the following topics:
Provision of first-line psychological support
Provision of online consultation
The psychological impact of quarantine – How to cope with quarantine/isolation
How do our member associations deal with the crisis?
The global aim of HOME_EU is to provide a comprehensive understanding on how the Europeans stakeholders perceive, tolerate and confront the inequality.
We aim to understand how persistent Homelessness disrupts individuals, basic liberties and equality aspirations, and to find the best solution to tackle this phenomenon.
The Capabilities Approach provides a framework that will be used to generate data and practical guidelines to promote social justice with a focus on service effectiveness and policy guidance for innovation.
The project will examine how the experiences of homeless services users (both current and past; both Housing First and other services) are shaped by the homelessness-related values, beliefs, priorities, and practices service providers that support them, by national public policies that direct services, and by the citizens who shape public policy.
To achieve this aim, HOME_EU will compile data from diversified sources: citizens, service users and providers and policy actors to understand how this phenomenon is accepted or not across partner member states, and to highlight effective solutions.
Maria Vargas-Moniz and José Ornelas of ISPA – Instituto Universitário, are involved in the HOME_EU project.