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Social Justice & Advocacy Committee


The Social Justice & Advocacy Committee is responsible for providing organizational leadership related to issues of social justice as it pertains to sexuality and sexual wellness. This committee is responsible for providing leadership in ACSSW related to advocating for issues of sexuality both within the counseling profession and the wider communities.


The Social Justice & Advocacy Committee:

  • Shall monitor current and upcoming social justice issues related to concerns of discrimination based on sexuality.

  • Shall initiate action providing support for sexually minoritized groups who experience discrimination.

Social Justice & Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs:



Dr. Debra Perez (she/her) has been a professional counselor focusing on trauma treatment for over 19 years serving rural NM. She currently lives in Montana and provides therapy via telebehavioral health. Dr. Perez is an Assistant Professor at Liberty University Online. In addition to being a counselor and a professor, she is also an author, contributing chapters to multiple books as well as coauthoring and coediting a book for counselors on telebehavioral health.

Jeff Strozier, PhD, LCPC (he/him/they/them) is Interim Department Chair and Director of Clinical Training for the Counselor Education Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Strozier earned a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of New Orleans and MA in Clinical Professional Psychology from Roosevelt University. Dr. Strozier has over fifteen years of experience within the counseling profession. Prior to joining TCSPP he was Director of the Anti-Violence Project at Center on Halsted, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Midwest. Dr. Strozier also provided community-based counseling services and, as part of his doctoral training, he provided individual and group counseling to clients with substance use disorder within an intensive outpatient setting.


2022 - 2023 Committee Members:

Christi Barnes

Diana Charnley

Tara Robinson

Casey VanHecke

Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson

Michelle Wade


2023 Committee Updates Reported at ACSSW Annual Meeting 03/30/2023:

  • Transition to new co-chairs Debra Perez and Jeff Strozier

  • Newsletter articles

    • Drag Show Ban in TN (Published Winter newsletter)

    • Step by step guide to contacting your legislators and advocating (To be published in next newsletter)

    • Newsletter update of committee progress

  • Response Statements

    • Committee developed processes for drafting and releasing advocacy and social justice focused statements in response to events. Committee developed template for statements and separate tracks for urgent and non-urgent events. Committee set up a WhatsApp group chat to more quickly communicate in the event of an urgent issue. Committee will work with EC to approve and send out statements quickly and is exploring use of association web site and social media to further share statements and resources. Goals for statements include expressing solidarity, generating awareness, and sharing resources/ ways to advocate.

  • Currently drafting response statement to address anti transgender legislation being passed across the nation.

  • Previously Issued two statements. One addressed Roe v Wade and the other addressed the Colorado Springs shooting.

  • ACSSW Web Site

    • Discussing ways to use web site to share resources, statements, and advocacy tips.

  • Area of committee focus: Human Sexuality as a core requirement

    • Committee identified long term goal and area of focus to be advocating for Human Sexuality as a core requirement in counselor education.

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