The Cultural and Economic Diversity Committee

The function of the Cultural and Economic Diversity committee, in alignment with AFTA’s mission, is to ensure the Academy’s accountability in maintaining economic and cultural diversity and upholding its social justice agenda.

AFTA's approach to social justice addresses the structural oppression that plays out within families and at different levels within society. Structural oppression refers to the situation in which people are divided into groups, which have unequal ability and opportunity to access power and resources. This approach challenges the institutional and interpersonal policies and practices as well as the underlying ideologies that perpetuate the continuation of these contemporary and historical injustices. It calls for personal and collective action to establish equitable social participation, allowing individuals, families, and communities the possibility to exist with dignity, self-determination, and physical and psychological wellbeing.

The committee recognizes that:

  • People often exist in multiple locations, bringing marginalization and privilege at the same or different times.
  • Empowerment and accountability processes for members of organizations benefit the well-being of organizations as a whole.
  • "Injuries" that occur across groups where one is part of the dominant culture and the other part of a marginalized group need to be carefully defined and the issue of responsibility framed in a way that acknowledges implications of dominance.
  • "Fairness" or "justice" does not mean equal treatment when certain groups have experienced cumulative disadvantage over time.
  • There are acts of public remembrance for families, communities, and societies where catastrophic injustices have been inflicted historically.


Multicultural Equity Initiative Scholarship

AFTA Members may nominate multicultural equity initiative guests for a scholarship to attend the annual conference. The Cultural and Economic Diversity Committee is responsible for the selection process with the assistance of the treasurer, who helps to address budget issues. Decisions will be made on merit and commensurate with costs and benefits (including hotel registration).

An initiative guest is someone who belongs to a marginalized group in society, including people of color, of low socioeconomic status, people with disabilities, people with sexual orientations other than heterosexual, transgender people or those who identify as gender queer, immigrants from developing countries who become a part of a marginalized group in the U.S. by virtue of their ethnicity, religion, class, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation.

All Multicultural Equity Initiative Guests must be identified by the committee as having made, or possessing the potential to make, an important contribution to the world of family therapy. Our Guests are considered potential AFTA Members and must meet the minimum requirements for membership.

To apply for the scholarship, please fill out the AFTA Multicultural Equity Initiative Guest Submission Form. The Committee will choose which candidates are chosen for a scholarship and the amount awarded.

Thank you for your interest in the Diversity Guest Program.

Listening Circles

AFTA is committed to respectful and inclusive participation with one another. We hold ourselves to a high standard. There are many times when we don’t meet our own standards and someone feels hurt or excluded by the actions or attitudes of others. We wish to be accountable for the ways we hurt or exclude others, and we wish to be open to experiences of others that may be invisible to us. We are hoping that in this experiment we might take a step toward making these moments more visible so that we can learn from them how to be more aware and sensitive to others, and participate in more respectful and inclusive ways.

The intention of the listening circle is to provide a group to witness anyone who wishes to share an experience during the meeting for which they would like support, recognition, understanding, or empathy. Although there are no responses directly to people who speak, how we listen affects how others speak. How we speak affects how others listen. Speak in a way that you are more likely to be heard.


Committee Members

Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe (Chair)

Janessa Dominguez (Chair)

Janessa Dominguez, Ph.D., BCBA, LMFT, QBA, LMHC (Chair), is the founder and CEO of Shaping Change, LLC. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Qualified Behavior Analyst, and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She received her doctorate degree in family therapy from Nova Southeastern University. She has worked in a variety of settings from schools, homes, and clinic to community settings, providing a multitude of services to address challenging behaviors and systemic change. She believes infusing behavior analysis and family therapy in the provision of services is key for a more comprehensive, desirable outcome, which is inclusive of the entire system.

Members: Jane Ariel, Timothy Baima, Lisa Bibuld, Wonyoung Cho, Gene Combs, Diane Estrada, Laura Forman, Peter Fraenkel, Paulette Hines, Mariana Juras, Lana Kim, Roxana Llerena-Quinn, Blanca Lugo, Martha Morgan, Sueli Petry, Nydia Preto, Laurel Salmon, Monica Sesma-Vasquez, CharlesEtta Sutton, David Trimble