On June 15, 2020, the College of Social Work hosted a student forum to discuss the outpouring of global support for the end of racial violence, systemic racism, and the dismantling of oppressive systems. The purpose of the forum was to hear from our students, learn what they need from us, and as a social work community, collectively decide our action steps.
Nearly 100 people consisting of students, faculty and staff participated in the forum where a robust discussion of social work’s role in dismantling racism was took place.
A co-facilitated student and faculty panel tackled tough questions and challenged the audience to join in conversation that pushed comfort levels and that led to impassioned ideas. The forum was framed by four main questions:
1. How are you personally experiencing this moment (i.e., the murder of and violence against African Americans and Black people; and the global reaction to these occurrences)?
2. What is the action that should occur to dismantle racialized violence, systemic racism, and oppressive systems?
3. What do you need or what would you like to see as it relates to the College of Social Work’s role in dismantling
4. What makes them hopeful about the moment and the future?
CSW student leaders Crystal Vincent (master’s student), Raven Lynch (doctoral student), and Sly Worthy Jr. (undergraduate student) were joined by faculty facilitator Dr. Michelle Kaiser, and Advocacy Director Steve David, to lead the audience in a spirited brainstorming session that produced action themes related to infusing anti-racism content throughout the social work curriculum, greater community engagement and advocacy, and a host of other strategies that rest in broad-based coalition building.
Resoundingly, the student forum participants expressed that racism can be conquered and that we are experiencing a global awakening in which diverse partnerships and like-minded individuals, committed to this important work will usher in lasting change.