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New Jersey Association of School Psychologists

Feb 9. 2023

Please see the statements below from NASP providing information about a racist incident that occurred at the Denver Annual Convention where 5600 school psychologists were meeting together to celebrate Dr. Celeste Malone’s Presidential theme “Radical Hope, Authentic Healing”. Clearly, there is much work to be done to promote Dr. Malone’s vision. However, despite the harm inflicted, her purpose, activism, intentionality, and joy continue to be inspirational. NJASP stands in solidarity with our NASP President Celeste Malone and the entire Black and Brown community in calling out the inexcusable and unacceptable behavior that occurred in the Hyatt Hotel.

NASP wants to acknowledge publicly that a totally unacceptable and harmful incident occurred last night in the Hyatt hotel that directly affected President Celeste Malone, her friends, colleagues, and family, and by extension the Black community. The actions of hotel security are antithetical to NASP’s values, commitment to working to end racism and discrimination, and being a welcoming, safe space for all marginalized people. Celeste, along with other Black leaders in school psychology, are doing amazing work, as evidenced by so much of what is making this convention exciting and meaningful. We are outraged and stand in solidarity with Celeste and the Black community. Celeste and NASP Executive Director Kathy Minke are meeting with the hotel General Manager today. There is no justification for this incident and we will hold the Hyatt accountable. We extend our deepest apologies that this happened in our space.

This is an update to our earlier post regarding the incident at the Hyatt involving NASP President Celeste Malone and her friends and colleagues. With Celeste’s permission, we share the following details. As most NASP Presidents do in the evening of their biggest event at convention, Celeste hosted a party in her president’s suite for her Howard University colleagues and students and her close friends and family. This is what a presidential suite in the hotel is for. At 9:30 p.m., 30 minutes before quiet hours are enforced, two white hotel security staff came to the suite and demanded everyone leave due to noise complaints, stayed in the suite until guests left, and demanded ID. Hotel policy requires one or two warnings before any action is taken. No warnings were given. And again, Celeste and her guests DID NOTHING WRONG. This is inexcusable behavior and would not have happened had the guests not been Black and Brown individuals.

We will let Celeste speak for herself and her own wellbeing, but NASP is solidly with and behind her, the others directly affected, and the broader Black community.

NASP Executive Director Kathy Minke and Celeste met with the Hyatt General Manager. The hotel will be issuing a letter of apology, which will include the Hyatt’s next steps to address this incident. We plan to share this publicly as soon as we receive it.

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