June 16, 2020
It is with an extremely heavy heart that the SDSU School of Social Work shares this statement. The video of George Floyd’s death was difficult to watch and is yet another example of the racial injustice that exists in our country. This is a time when we should not stay silent. We need to remember and honor all Black lives lost, including the lives of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more.
Our faculty, staff, and students see, hear, and join in the heartbreaking pain and the fervent voices of thousands of peaceful protesters globally. We clearly witness the extreme frustration and fear expressed so loudly regarding these recurring tragedies decade after decade yielding only incremental change. These events make systemic and institutional racism clear to all of American society. We also acknowledge that hate-motivated acts target other groups, and we have seen a dramatic spike in racial discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the current events following the death of George Floyd, it is time for the deep-rooted and long-standing issues of racism and discrimination to be much more fully and systematically addressed.
As social work professionals, educators, and citizens, we support all members of our School of Social Work, our alumni, and the greater community with whom we work so closely. We will continue to collaborate proactively with others to create social change.
In the coming days and months, we will enlist your participation as we develop a proactive approach to keep showing up for Black communities and break down the systems designed to perpetuate racism.
Specific actions that the SDSU School of Social Work faculty and staff are taking to effect positive social change will follow.
The Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness Committee in the School of Social Work at SDSU will closely examine how our social work curriculum can better empower the next generation of social work practitioners to dismantle institutional racism.
The faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the School of Social Work are engaged in anti-racism activities and are committed to working alongside the SDSU Division of Diversity and Innovation, to be “upstanders” based on the pledge many of us have signed to create a welcoming and safe climate for SDSU’s African American students and in the broader San Diego community.
We, Social Work leaders and educators, pledge to:
- Disarm biased speech and conduct by interrupting and changing these dynamics
- Educate by sharing perspectives or information
- Make invisible dynamics visible to raise awareness
- Support those who are impacted by biased actions or words
- Engage in courageous conversations about fairness, equity, and overcoming oppression
- Advocate for policy and larger cultural change to challenge systemic and institutional racism
- Faculty will use equity-minded teaching practices in our new online format to:
- Provide intrusive instruction
- Be relational
- Be culturally relevant and affirming
- Be community-focused
- Be race-conscious
- The School will make sure all students, faculty, and staff understand they can use the Inclusive SDSU system to report any instances of bias that they may experience.
- Faculty will continue to use their scholarship and expertise to address existing health disparities across the nation and internationally, and to involve our students in these efforts.
- By addressing issues of access to care, palliative care, migration health, trauma, homelessness, human trafficking, HIV, substance use, mental health, child welfare and the intersectionalities of these issues with race/gender/sexual minorities that underserved communities of San Diego and in Imperial Valley, Mexico and other countries face.
- Providing trainings on cultural humility, implicit bias, intersectionality, and disproportionality to providers in the community.
- The School will continue to give voice to historically marginalized and oppressed communities, and elevate their strengths and resiliencies.
- As an example, supporting Latinx, Native, East African, and Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander community members of City Heights in building their community, specifically filling the gap in the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health providers in their communities.
- Supporting students from underrepresented communities in their academic success and scholarship.
- Faculty and staff are committed to setting an example by voting in our national, local, and state elections and advocating through elected officials.
In closing, the SDSU School of Social Work will amplify our ongoing efforts to advance racial justice and attack systemic racism and other forms of oppression through our teaching, research, advocacy, and service to the community.
Faculty and Staff
School of Social Work
San Diego State University