Transcript for Episode 54: Where We Stand on Racism

NASW Social Work Talks Podcast

Angelo McClain:

Dear social workers, friends, and colleagues. I understand what a challenging time this is for so many of us. I hope that you are staying safe and finding ways to cope. I have spent most of the last two weeks immersed in discussions with colleagues about racism in America and the urgent need for justice. Many of the people I'm talking to are tired. They are exhausted from having to carry the flag and from the burden of having to demand they be treated as equals, something no individual should have to ask for in the United States in the year 2020. Despite being exhausted, we are all committed to making a difference and paving the way for real reform.

The senseless murder of George Floyd and so many other black men and women demands urgency. At the local level, NASW chapters are hosting listening forms, webinars and workshops. They are reinvigorating, elevating and empowering their racial equity committees for advancing this work within their communities. They are also keeping their members informed about opportunities to participate in racial injustice workshops and town hall discussions within their communities. In the coming weeks, NASW will initiate several activities to help the more than 800,000 social workers across the country lead efforts in their communities to flatten the curve on racism.

A key feature of our virtual national conference will be a preliminary session focused on addressing systemic racism. Several of the conference breakout sessions will provide additional learning opportunities for addressing racism. Following these conference activities, on Juneteenth, NASW will host a national discussion on racism for social workers. And we will offer continued education webinars in the weeks following the Juneteenth activity.

If you've been following the discussions on our social media outlets, you know we have reason to be proud of the social work response to the death of Mr. George Floyd in the demand for justice. Unfortunately, we also have reason to be concerned about some of the surprisingly bigoted responses by some of our colleagues. It is abundantly clear that we also must work on ending racism within our own profession. As a profession, our response to the coronavirus pandemic has been tremendous. We've done an amazing job being there for our clients and being there for each other. Now I ask each of you to join me again in bringing that same level of energy, commitment and determination to responding to racism. I bring this message to you today in peace and solidarity.

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