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Anti-Racism Now and Forever More

A Statement from the National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (NCORED):

We condemn racism. We condemn white supremacy. We condemn the devaluation of Black lives and Black humanity that pervades our society.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others are rooted in these social ills and reflect profound failings on the part of institutions that are supposed to protect and keep us all safe. These tragedies are linked to a legacy of racialized violence in the United States that continues to plague Black people and Black communities.

As social workers committed to social justice and the dignity and worth of all of humanity, we recognize the pain, suffering, and outrage resulting from a long history of racism, oppression, and discrimination in this country. Social workers and other professionals across the nation are needed to address the inadequacies of our social systems in combating racism.

Injustice is never acceptable and we are called to fight it, especially within our own areas. The diversity in our nation and world delivers substantial opportunities for perspective sharing through cultural acknowledgement and acceptance.

In so stating, cultural competence takes into account the fluidity of our social system while it embraces cultural differences through all social interactions. Currently the insurmountable periods of distress calls for unity across the professional scope. Too often political systems, rules, and policies omit or disregard the necessity to embrace diversity and inclusivity. Cultural competence has paved the way to increased awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and improved skill-based practice.

The time for advocacy to address the outrage and immeasurable dissociations is now. Social workers must strengthen our commitment to equity by reaffirming our fight to eradicate racism and all forms of injustices.

NCORED reaffirms our commitment to promote conditions, which encourage respect for the diversity of cultures including equality of opportunity in all activities of the association, with a particular focus on those groups that have historically been subject to racism. In this commitment, we acknowledge both the pain of racism and the work necessary to eradicate it.

NCORED is committed to advocating for reforms to address the conscious and unconscious bias in housing, employment, education, social welfare, child welfare, healthcare, mental health, and other systems in which we have influence as social workers.

We also want to recognize that people of color in our own midst — in our membership organization (NASW) — are injured and reinjured by the death of George Floyd, because it symbolizes the racism that so many of us have endured ourselves and/or vicariously with [and for] our loved ones.

As a Committee, we want to support each other, especially Black and Brown communities. We will continue our efforts to ensure respect, inclusion, fairness and equity in our social work practices and social justice actions for and with the individuals, communities and families that NASW members serve. We are committed to creating and sustaining healthy environments where Black Lives Matter and are valued and supported in all that we do as social workers.

Real change requires action. In the words of political activist, author, philosopher and educator Angela Y. Davis, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

As social workers, our professional ethical mandate includes being actively opposed to racism in all its forms — individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural. Using the Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice developed by NCORED as a framework, we propose the following resources for promoting anti-racism:

Being Anti-Racist (National Museum of African American History and Culture)
Reading List (Center for Racial Justice in Education)
An Anti-Racist Reading List (Ibram X. Kendi, PhD)
Personal Self-Assessment of Anti-Bias Behavior (Anti-Defamation League)
Institutional Racism and the Social Work Profession: A Call to Action (NASW)

In Solidarity,
The Members of NCORED

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.