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SACES Conference 2024 - An Opportunity for Advocacy and Awareness

March 09, 2024 1:31 PM | Rachel Gilreath (Administrator)

Events over the past few years have continued to highlight the importance of the professional counselors' workforce who can cultivate culturally responsive and healing relationships while simultaneously advocating for the protection of marginalized communities, counseling ethics, and counselors’ scope of practice. These issues facing the U.S. are playing out on center stage in Texas, with the introduction or passage of many bills that directly affect LGBTQ+ communities, schools, and communities at large. You can read more about recent bills in this Texas Counseling Association Legislative Report.

In response to these legislative actions in Texas, several SACES members have asked: Should SACES go to Texas? Why would we support the economy of a state that is leading the way in suppressing marginalized communities and the counseling profession?

These questions are worthy of serious consideration. As we sat with these questions, we found ourselves weighing risks and opportunities to support and empower our Texas community.

Advocacy action is at the core of our counseling and counselor educator identity. Advocacy requires intentionality in our actions, and as an organization, we pondered how we can find ways to give space for those who need it while also building up a community of counselor educators and supervisors ready to address these issues in their programs and communities. In particular, when many states in the southern region are facing a legislative year in 2025 (such as Texas).

So, what if you do choose to come to the conference? We ask you to come in the spirit of building a community of counselor educators and supervisors deeply committed to developing a workforce of counselors equipped to address the oppression within our communities and engage in advocacy action. In support of that commitment, you can expect to see the following initiatives integrated into the conference: 

  • Keynote panel addressing strategies on legislative advocacy as we prepare Texas and many states in the southern region for a legislative year in 2025.
  • Dedicated social justice and diversity track.
  • Returning to the community through a fundraiser to address the needs of a marginalized community in Dallas.
  • Dedicated guide to help you understand opportunities for supporting restaurants and tourism owned by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals who are invested in their community.

We hope you will choose to come to Dallas, build up our counselor education community, and invest in the local community. It is our vision that you will leave energized, enriched, and equipped with new tools for developing counselors responsive to parallel challenges in your own communities.

Isabel Farrell, SACES President-elect
Michael Jones, SACES President
Hannah Bowers, SACES Past-president

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