Anticipating SRCD 2021: A Letter from the Co-Chairs and SRCD President

From Ellen Pinderhughes (Program Co-Chair), Tufts University, Nim Tottenham (Program Co-Chair), Columbia University, and Ken Dodge (President, SRCD), Duke University

Dear Colleagues:

We hope you and your loved ones are faring as well as possible in these difficult times.

We write with deeply mixed feelings – we were intending to write to you with excitement about the upcoming 2021 Biennial, and yet we can’t ignore our and others’ heavy feelings about the state of the United States right now. We want to communicate our outrage, weariness, and hurt about the various news stories converging to highlight (not for the first time, but for the nth time) the historical and deep structural racism in the United States and to validate the different experiences that our members are having in the context of the coronavirus and police brutality ravaging many communities, most notably the Black, Latinx and Native American communities, and exacerbating xenophobia. It is time for hatred to stop. Enough.

It's in the context of these strong emotions that we find ourselves humbled to serve as President and Program Co-chairs for the 2021 SRCD Biennial Meeting and daunted by the charge to showcase our science and its contributions to solving contemporary problems. Child development scientists, practitioners, and policy makers have the ability, obligation, and responsibility to be on the front lines of responding to concerns related to children’s development. One role SRCD can play is to continue to push the envelope regarding the myriad contextual influences on human behavior. Toward that end, we very much look forward to the SRCD community coming together at the 2021 Biennial Meeting. This is not the time for developmental scientists to hide; instead, it is time for us to come forward.

Our aim is to develop the most exciting and impactful program that we can, reflecting the very broad base and reach of SRCD. To accomplish this goal, for the invited program, we reflected on and expanded upon SRCD’s strategic goals; namely, we paid very careful attention to the invited program to ensure that it reflects diverse voices, including international voices, highlights interdisciplinary approaches, ensures that we build the field’s capacity for the future, and, needed now more than ever, increases translation and exchange of information. We look forward to announcing the invited program once speakers have been confirmed.

The Call for Submissions is now posted, and we invite you to prepare and submit your abstracts, when the site opens in early July.

The Biennial will be a time for us to address many issues, including the role of researchers in addressing violence and discrimination against people of color and other marginalized groups; supporting children amidst media/social media bombardment; supporting children in an increasingly dangerous world for people of color and other marginalized individuals, as well as racist and discriminatory experiences that children, youth, and adults are encountering. To those ends and in concert with the general missions of SRCD, we will include sessions that support scientific study of diverse children’s experiences, support developmental scientists as they study these topics, support diverse children and families, and build capacity in our field by growing the pipeline of researchers from diverse backgrounds.

Looking ahead to 2021, we are moving forward with preparations for an in-person meeting in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Simultaneously within the context of the coronavirus and current events, we are developing contingency plans to allow for a variety of other virtual or in-person possibilities.

While this meeting might feel a little different than prior SRCD Biennial Meetings, it will provide the same rich opportunities for sharing innovative child development research, building community, and catching up with old friends.

A quick note about logistics. We are aware that public health guidance and travel restrictions are in flux and will remain so for some time. We, and the SRCD staff, are planning every aspect of this biennial to support flexibility and inclusivity.

We hope you will consider a submission and plan on joining 6,000 child development experts from around the world April 8-10, 2021 because the need for child development experts to gather, share, discuss, and disseminate our research is as urgent as ever.

Wishing you and your family health and safety,

Ellen Pinderhughes
Program Co-Chair
Tufts University

Nim Tottenham
Program Co-Chair
Columbia University

Ken Dodge
President, SRCD
Duke University