As a School, we stand in solidarity with African Americans and other minoritized communities, and we will continue to raise our voices even louder bringing our words and actions towards change in our classrooms, our community, and academia.
For Black lives to truly matter, we must continue to do the work necessary to obliterate racism in all its forms. Historically and daily, we see countless peaceful protests in response to racism, hatred, brutality, senseless murders, and violence, and we still have African Americans and other minoritized communities under attack.
Overt forms of racism are the tip of the iceberg and call us to act. However, systemic racism is a powerful insidious force that remains under the surface unaddressed continually inflicting harm. Systemic racism is rooted in communities, businesses, school systems (from pre-schools to universities), governments, criminal justice, financial institutions, health and behavioral health care, and elsewhere. Our work needs to have an impact beyond this month and continue towards long-term individual and community-based actions and education focused on ending all forms of overt raStatcism and systemic racism through equality, justice, and a shared peaceful humanity.
The TSSW resolves to increase our commitment to anti-racism through a series of upcoming and ongoing initiatives:
- This Thursday, the public can join a Virtual Health Spot discussing race, equity, and advocacy with community organizers engaging in this work throughout the Greater New Orleans area. Voter registration will be featured.
- This Thursday, we will also launch the "Empowering Change" website, a curated set of anti-racism resources that serve to educate and provide opportunities for action. The website will follow a “watch, listen, read, and action” format designed with the “knowledge is power” goal to support individuals and communities to learn about racism, hatred, privilege, historical systemic oppression, and how to take action. The website will be a living and evolving set of curated resources featured on the School’s main webpage. Voter registration will also be featured.
- In February 2019, the TSSW held a training with authors Steven Burghardt, Kalima DeSuze, Linda Lausell Bryant, & Mohan Vinjamuri regarding how to on approach and have difficult conversations on racism, power, privilege, oppression, towards developing mutual humanity. Post training, the School formed a workgroup of administration, faculty, and staff to review next steps for sustained change. Over the past 14 months, the workgroup has developed an action plan recommending changes within our School to foster greater opportunities to carry this momentum forward personally and professionally. In the next few weeks, we will share the plans for your review and comments.
These efforts must be persistent because racism is systemically rooted and pervasive. Within the social work profession and across our communities, we must continue to self-reflect, educate, advocate, and act to not only make Black lives matter but to value them.
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Patrick Bordnick Joan Blakey Arturo Rodriguez
Dean Associate Dean Assistant Dean