Join the discussion on equity, inclusion, social work and social justice
The Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series is a virtual, interactive lecture series hosted by the BUSSW Equity & Inclusion Committee. All E&I Speaker Series events are free and open to the public.
From Eugenic Practices to Social Policing: Social Work & Reproductive Oppression
Thursday, December 14, 2023
5:30–6:45 pm ET
Although Black, Indigenous, disabled, and other marginalized activists have stated for years that Roe v. Wade was not enough to protect people’s reproductive rights, it wasn’t until the 2022 Dobbs decision that broader attention to reproductive rights and calls for reproductive justice resurfaced in mainstream dialogue. Since then, many social work institutions and practitioners have urged those in the field to consider reproductive justice a crucial component of their social justice mission. However, they often overlook the profession’s historical ties to eugenic practice and the continued policing of people’s bodies.
This event will focus on how social workers have contributed to reproductive oppression and identify opportunities for them to incorporate reproductive justice into their practice and personal lives.
1 CE credit will be available to social workers licensed in Massachusetts. Licensed social workers outside of Massachusetts may also receive credit depending on their jurisdiction; see details on states and provinces accepting ASWB ACE credits here. If you wish to receive CE credits, please provide your license number in the registration form.
Greer Hamilton, PhD (she/her) is a transitional postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Her work focuses on examining how systems of oppression are embedded into the built environment and subsequently impact people’s health, well-being, and use of public spaces. She began her research career as a research assistant for Dr. Gretchen Ely who studied how far people had to travel for an abortion prior to the overturning of Roe. She is a board member for the Midwest Access Coalition and formerly the co-chair of the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund.
Past Events & Recordings
Social Work & Social Theater: From Self-Development to Critical Awareness
Speaker: Linda Ducca
Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023
As right wing extremists’ ideas and actions become more common and endanger people’s rights, social theater techniques and methodologies can help raise awareness about the inequalities and injustices of the system we live in. This presentation will explore the link between social theater and social work, and how social theater methodology promotes collective well-being and critical awareness. Featured speaker Linda Ducca will give a brief overview of the roots of social theater, examine the historical use of theater as a methodology in social work, and discuss the broader meaning of social theater today in practice, education, and research.
Linda Ducca, PhD, is assistant professor at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). She holds a PhD in Social Work, a master’s degree in Research Methods and Techniques applied to Social Work, and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work (UCM). Prof. Ducca is a founding member of Grupolab and a committee member of the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). Her research focuses on youth, participation, social theater, social intervention, and social work with groups. In addition to her publications, she has presented to Congress about social theater and social work. She is not an actress, but has been practicing social theater for more than 10 years.
Moderators & Reflectors
Moderator: Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW
Dawn Belkin Martinez is a clinical professor and associate dean of equity and inclusion at the Boston University School of Social Work, where she coordinates the clinical practice with families sequence. Formerly the chief social worker on the inpatient psychiatry service at Children’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, she has nearly 30 years of experience as a scholar, clinical social worker, and activist in the movement for our collective liberation.
Student Reflector: Sarah Amkieh
Sarah Amkieh is a Syrian American 2nd year clinical student at BUSSW. They grew up in Louisiana and attended Tulane University for undergrad where they studied political science and gender studies and then lived in San Diego before coming to Boston to pursue their master’s. They are deeply passionate about social justice and radical liberation for all marginalized groups and hope to pursue clinical and macro work in line with these passions. And on a less serious note, they have an adorable orange cat named Taz!
Alumni Reflector: Malaka Mims
Malaka Mims, an alum of the BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, is a licensed independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who operates a private practice in Brockton, Mass. She provides therapy, advocacy, workshops, and consultation, all rooted in her unwavering dedication to social work and positive change. She also teaches MSW courses at BUSSW with a focus on ethics, racial justice, clinical practice, and mental health policy. Recently, she has ventured into podcasting, facilitating impactful discussions on vital topics.
Faculty Reflector: Donna McLaughlin
Donna McLaughlin is a clinical associate professor at BUSSW and is known for her expertise in social work practice with groups and individuals, behavioral health and trauma. Her interests include supervising and mentoring students and new workers, and community training in group work, trauma, living with chronic illness, and work with the LGBTQ+ community. She is also a clinician/consultant in private practice.
Understanding & Resisting the War on Trans Youth
Speaker: Jessica Kant
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023
In reaction to the enormous strides made by the trans liberation movement, a counter-campaign has grown exponentially in opposition, using transgender people as a political wedge issue. Having gone from invisibility to hypervisibility, trans people are thrust into the public landscape, their lives and bodies debated nightly on news programs and in legislatures. In the past several years, hundreds of bills have been proposed targeting transgender people, with an emphasis on pediatric gender-affirming care. With each enacted policy, politicians and their donors grow bolder in their efforts to drive transgender people out of public life.
This BUSSW Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series event featuring speaker Jessica Kant will explore how the attack on trans lives is increasingly taking place within the fields of medicine and social work, with social workers in particular being forced to either participate in anti-trans actions or actively resist. Participants will gain insight into the world that trans people are living in, both in the present and through history, and learn ways to identify and decode anti-trans messaging, and challenge anti-trans policies and activities within their institutions.
Jessica Kant is a Boston-based clinical social worker and researcher who specializes in working with transgender and nonbinary clients. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for twelve years and is currently part of a multidisciplinary team supporting transgender people through the surgical process, including identifying and accessing their embodiment goals. Outside of clinical practice, she is a part-time lecturer at the BU School of Social Work and an analyst on a mixed-methods study at Boston Children’s Hospital examining the effects of the social and political climate on transgender youth and their families.
Moderators & Reflectors
Moderator: Daniel P. Miller, PhD
Daniel Miller, PhD, is an associate professor of social welfare policy, and Director of the PhD program at the Boston University School of Social Work. His research focuses on the ways in which policies can promote the health and well-being of children and families.
- Student reflector Neha Bhagat (she/her) is a second-year clinical MSW student at Boston University. With a focus on Asian and Asian American communities, Neha’s involvement in suicide prevention and health equity spaces led her to pursue the field of social work to deeper explore the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions in addressing intersectionality. Whichever path comes next, she aims to take it with compassion, empathy, and patience above all.
- Alumni reflector Mahlet Meshesha, MSW, LCSW, MPH (she/her) is a trauma-informed, public health social worker with a passion for improving working conditions and workplace culture. She is currently a program evaluator at the Boston Public Health Commission. Mahlet is also a steering committee member of the Boston Liberation Health group.
- Faculty reflector Chloe Frankel (she/they), LICSW, is a full-time lecturer at BUSSW and also works with youth, adults, and families as a community-based therapist. Chloe is a member of the Boston Liberation Health Group’s Steering Committee and believes that none of us are free until all of us are free. Queer and trans liberation now!
Disability Justice and Mental Health
Speaker: Isabel Alvardado Dees
Date: Thursday, April 27, 2023
Social workers engage with mental health on a daily basis. However, conversations about how mental health intersects with disability are less common. In this BUSSW Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series event, guest speaker Isabel Alvarado Dees leads a discussion about supporting people with disabilities in your daily practice. The conversation focuses on accommodations, universal design, and changing the language we use to discuss disability and mental health.
Isabel Alvarado Dees is an educational rights advocate with more than ten years of experience working in compliance in higher education. She identifies as a member of the disabled community which informs her holistic approach to meaningful inclusion through agency models of service and transformative justice principles.
Moderators & Reflectors
Viviendo en la Intersección: Queer Latinx Experiences at the Intersection of Identities
Speakers: Javier Garcia-Perez, PhD Candidate, UCLA
Date: Thursday, February 23, 2023
Queer Latinx individuals live in a complex fabric of intersecting structures of oppression including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, citizenship status, internalized homophobia, internalized racism and linguistic hierarchy. They are required to navigate complex identities that are often not understood or adequately researched, and we don’t have a clear understanding of how they navigate their identities in relation to the structures of oppression.
In this Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series event, featured speaker Javier Garcia-Perez discusses current issues facing the queer Latinx community, findings from his 2020 pilot study with queer Latinx individuals, and where we go from here.
Javier Garcia-Perez is a PhD candidate in social welfare at UCLA. An interdisciplinary, intersectional and community-centered researcher, he is focused on improving quality of life for the queer Latinx community across their life span, and uses his lived experience as a first-generation bilingual queer Latinx social worker to inform his research. Garcia-Perez earned his BA in Chicana/o Studies from UC Davis, an MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and a combined MS in Nonprofit Leadership and MSW from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.
Moderator & Reflectors
- Moderator: Ashley Shen
- Student Reflector: Julia DeAngelo
- Faculty Reflector: Daniel Jacobson López
- Alumni Reflector: Sonia Mee
Surviving Neoliberal Social Work: Collective Action vs. Individualism
Speaker: Dimitra-Dora Teloni, Assistant Professor, University of West Attica
Date: Thursday, January 26, 2023
Is it possible for social work to survive and promote social justice in the context of neoliberal universities and social services? In our January Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series event, social work professor and activist Dimitra-Dora Teloni attempts to answer this question by presenting specific examples of resistance in day-to-day practice, social movement coalitions, and ways to support frontline social workers.
Dimitra-Dora Teloni is an assistant professor in the Social Work Department at the University of West Attica, Greece. Her published work and research interests focus on radical social work, refugees, antiracism and social movements.
Moderator & Reflectors
- Moderator: Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW
- Student Reflector: Ari Zimmet
- Faculty Reflector: Chloe Frankel, MSw, LICSW
- Alumni Reflector: Emy Takinami
(Neo)Colonization, Erasure and Illegible Traumas in the Asian American Diaspora
Speakers: Jean Yu-wen Wu, PhD
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2022
Asian American mental wellbeing received public attention in the US amid the widespread pandemic-related upsurge of anti-Asian violence. However, this fleeting and incomplete awareness of their continuing lived reality has not resulted in substantive action by the practitioners and educators that care for them. In this presentation, featured speaker Jean Yu-wen Wu and the BUSSW Equity & Inclusion Committee discuss the futility of addressing Asian/Asian American (un)wellness without contending with the erasure of the impact of (neo)colonialism and racial capitalism in shaping Asian/Asian American experiences and psyches.
Jean Yu-wen Wu, PhD, professor emerita at Tufts University, is a scholar, educator, and practitioner in critical race studies, anti-colonial Asian/Asian American diaspora studies, decolonization of research methodologies, community-based activism, and critical pedagogy.
Moderator & Reflectors
- Moderator: Ashley Shen (MSW student)
- Student Reflector: Katie Mai
- Faculty Reflector: Daniel P. Miller
- Alumni Reflector: Nihaarika Sharma
Community Activism & Political Education: Impacts on BIPOC Youth Mental Health
Speakers: Amatullah Mervin & Tara Venkatraman
Date: Thursday, October 27, 2022
In this political moment, and throughout this country’s history, Black young people and young people of color are on the forefront of insurgent social movements for justice. However, youth are also experiencing the repercussions of devastating racial and police violence and ongoing governmental neglect—in ways that have indelible impacts on their mental health.
Join Amatullah Mervin (STH’22) and Tara Venkatraman for an important discussion on strategies for activism and organizing rooted in collective care, and ways in which activism, organizing and political education themselves can be mental health care practices. The speakers will also share their research on how the mental health of Black youth and youth of color is impacted by political education and organizing work as they offer best practices for mental health practitioners, social workers, organizers, and youth workers.
Continuing Education Credits: 1 continuing education credit will be available to social workers licensed in Massachusetts upon successful completion of a brief quiz. If you would like to receive continuing education credits, please provide your license number during registration.
This event is co-sponsored by BUSSW’s Clinical Practice and Macro Practice departments.
Amatullah Mervin (STH’22) – Executive Director, The City School
Amatullah Mervin (she/hers) is a Boston-Cambridge, Massachusetts native. She is experienced in youth and community organizing, social justice program development and organizational leadership. As a youth and community organizer for 10+ years, her work has placed her at the center of supporting youth by recognizing their power and using that power to fight for liberation in grassroots movements. She has successfully worked on numerous campaigns both in the city of Boston and around the nation including Youthway on the MBTA, ending Stop-and-Frisk in New York City, and the work to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Mervin describes herself as a lover of people, travel, good food, culture and difficult conversations around justice, equity and the fight to dismantle oppression for Black youth especially. Her “sheroes” include Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur and Ella Baker, and she models much of her work after their ideology and methodology. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Theological Studies from Boston University.
Tara Venkatraman – Director of Programs and Strategy, The City School
Tara Deviki Venkatraman (she/hers) is the director of programs and strategy at The City School, and a youth worker, organizer, political educator and therapist. She has been rooted in Boston-area racial justice youth organizing for almost fifteen years, and has worked at The City School since 2011, where she supports political education, leadership development, and organizing work with young people and young adults of color. Venkatraman is also on the steering committee for a partnership between The City School and Boston Liberation Health that aims to design a community-based mental health response for the City of Boston that does not involve the police. She has organized with Youth Justice and Power Union in their campaign to defund the police and reinvest in youth jobs and community needs, and she has a therapy practice focused on young adults and adults of color. She is committed to building out mental health, collective care and transformative justice practices within communities of color and organizing spaces.
Moderator & Reflectors
Abolishing Carceral Social Work: The Child Welfare System
Speaker: Alan J. Dettlaff, PhD
Date: Thursday, September 29, 2022
The child welfare system, in its current state, disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous, and Latinx children and families through systemic surveillance, separation, and the adverse outcomes associated with family separation and foster care. Ending this harm will only be achieved when the forcible separation of children from their parents is no longer viewed as an acceptable form of intervention.
In this Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series event, we will discuss the movement to abolish the child welfare system and the broader need for the social work profession to align its practices with its stated values and ethical principles.
Alan J. Dettlaff, PhD, is dean of the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston and the inaugural Maconda Brown O’Connor Endowed Dean’s Chair. Prior to entering academia, Dean Dettlaff worked in the child welfare system as a caseworker and an administrator. He received his bachelor’s degree in social work from TCU, and master’s in social work and PhD from the University of Texas at Arlington. Dean Dettlaff’s work focuses on addressing and eliminating the impacts of structural and institutional racism on Black children and other children of color impacted by child welfare system intervention. He is co-founder of the upEND Movement, a collaborative movement that seeks to end the involuntary separation of children from their parents through abolition of foster care and the child welfare system.
Moderator & Reflectors
- Moderator: Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Equity & Inclusion, BUSSW
- Student Reflector: Noor Toraif, Doctoral Candidate and Lecturer, BUSSW
- Faculty Reflector: Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, Associate Professor, BUSSW
- Alumni Reflector: Maya Milic-Strkalj, Family Therapist, Arbour Counseling Services; Boston Liberation Health Group Steering Committee Member; Lecturer, BUSSW
Nearing the Abolitionist Horizon via Professionalized Social Change Work
Speaker: Sophia Sarantakos, PhD
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2022
The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the enduring issue of racist state violence has thrust the word “abolition” into the arena of professionalized U.S. social work more so in the past two years than at any other time. Although social change workers with an abolitionist politic are not a new phenomenon, discussions on the need for – and potential and friction of – “abolitionist social work” have increased dramatically since 2020. If professionalized social work is to shift to an abolitionist praxis, this is work that can only be done collectively. To that end, this talk will offer thoughts, not answers, as Dr. Joy James would say. In this presentation, the speaker will ground the audience in the definition and core tenets of prison-industrial complex abolition, query the profession’s stated values through an abolitionist lens, and share their thoughts on clear-eyed political actions that practitioners, researchers, educators, and schools of social work can take if they truly intend to reach for an abolitionist horizon.
Sophia Sarantakos, PhD, is a researcher and professor focused on contributing to the advancement of community-based approaches to harm and need, as well as exploring the future of social change work. Sarantakos leads the prison-industrial complex (PIC) abolition workgroup for the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare’s Promote Smart Decarceration Grand Challenge, which organizes and collaborates with other legal systems-focused scholars to increase social work’s understanding of PIC abolition, and its alignment with social work values and ethics. Along with teaching the foundation course “Integrated Social Work Practice for Social Justice,” Sarantakos teaches an “Introduction to PIC Abolition” course for MSW students.
- Transform Harm resource hub (great info on transformative justice and PIC abolition): transformharm.org
- PIC abolition resource guide compiled by Micah Herskind: micahherskind.com/abolition-resource-guide
- Don’t Call The Police (resources by city): dontcallthepolice.com
- Mandated Supporting: jmacforfamilies.org/mandated-supporting
- Mandatory Reporting is Not Neutral: mandatoryreportingisnotneutral.com
- Interrupting Criminalization: interruptingcriminalization.com
- Abolitionist Social Change Collective: Email this address to get connected
Disability, Race & Gender: Reproductive Health Solutions
Speaker: Natasha M. Lee-Johnson
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
This presentation focuses on the reproductive health crisis among Black women, especially those with disabilities, by exploring the links between disability, race, and gender and structural barriers to reproductive justice in the United States. Focusing on strategies for social workers, healthcare providers, researchers, and educators, the talk will highlight ways to create change in pursuit of reproductive justice for Black women.
Natasha M. Lee-Johnson is a doctoral social work student at Louisiana State University studying sexuality and reproductive health among Black women with disabilities. She has served in several leadership roles supporting health equity for women and people with disabilities, and was named a RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar in 2021. In addition, she has held two fellowships within the Association of University Centers on Disability Network. Lee-Johnson is driven by her personal connections to disability justice, and professional observations and engagements with reproductive healthcare systems.
Cultural Betrayal & Conundrums: The Making of a Book
Speaker: Incoming BUSSW faculty member Jennifer M. Gómez
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
This presentation is framed around incoming BUSSW faculty member Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez’ forthcoming book, Cultural Betrayal, Sexual Abuse, & Healing for Black Women & Girls: From Black Lives Matter to Me Too. The talk will begin with a description of cultural betrayal trauma theory, followed by a brief review of the empirical research to date. After providing an overview of the book, current conundrums related to the following topics will be delineated: 1) inequity in the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements; 2) the diversity of Black women and girls; 3) radical disruption of the medical model for mental health; and 4) violent silencing. The latter half of the talk will be discussion-based, with attendees providing feedback on the aforementioned conundrums.
Co-sponsor: BUSSW Clinical Practice Department
Jennifer M. Gómez, Ph.D. of the Center for Institutional Courage is a 2021-22 CASBS Fellow at Stanford University and incoming Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Boston University. Her research in cultural betrayal trauma theory (CBTT) regarding the impact of violence on Black and other marginalized populations has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Ford Foundation, and others.
Asian American Organizing: Lessons in Solidarity & Community Building
Speaker: Carolyn Chou, Executive Director of Asian American Resource Workshop
Date: Thursday, December 16, 2021
The Asian American umbrella includes a wide range of class experiences, languages, racialization, and gendered experiences. Building pan-Asian progressive organizing includes building solidarity across our community and building the leadership of those often marginalized and invisibilized within the Asian American narrative, including queer and trans folks, South Asian communities, Southeast Asian communities, among others. The presentation will explore the opportunities and challenges in organizing, how organizing and healing justice connect, and lessons in building solidarity.
Carolyn Chou (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), where she supports the leadership development and organizing around issues of racial, economic, and social justice of a diverse base of progressive Asian Americans, primarily young adults. Through her work at AARW, Carolyn has supported building the leadership capacity and organizing of Vietnamese American young adults in Dorchester, the heart of the Vietnamese community in Boston. Alongside the young adult organizers, Carolyn has helped build the Dorchester Not for Sale formation in the neighborhood, which brings together a diverse set of neighborhood residents to fight for good jobs, truly affordable housing, and equitable planning.
#CRT: The Critical Race Theory of Social Movement Making
Speaker: Dr. Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean of BU School of Law
Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021
The murder of George Floyd ignited large protests against racialized police brutality and across the globe during the summer of 2020. Led by millennials and Generation Z—the two most racially and ethnically diverse generations in the nation’s history—the racial equity protests that occurred resulted in reforms that had previously seemed unimaginable. Indeed, many scholars pondered what forces had helped to enable those protests to emerge and take effect.
In a special lecture co-sponsored by the Equity & Inclusion Committee and hosted by BUSSW’s Online MSW Program, Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig of the BU School of Law seeks to answer that question, contending that the protests and their successes were facilitated, in part, by the combination of two factors: Critical Race Theory and social media.
Resisting Neoliberalism: Critical Reflections from Latin American Social Work
Speakers: Melisa Campana Alabarce & Gianinna Muñoz-Arce
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Social workers in Latin America have a long history of working in partnership with communities in the movement for social justice. Emerging from the shadows of Neoliberalism, individuals, families, and grassroots organizations are joining together to create new social forces and communities of care. This presentation aims to provide an overview of the role of social workers in the struggle for feminism and abortion rights in Argentina and a new national constitution in Chile. What are the factors that influenced these successful movements and what are the opportunities for social workers here in the United States?
This event was part of a joint effort between Boston University School of Social Work, Boston College School of Social Work, and the Grand Challenges for Social Work to celebrate and discuss topics related to Hispanic Heritage Month.
Melisa Campana Alabarce currently works as an associated researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and as a principal professor of social work at the National University of Rosario, Argentina. She leads the Research Centre in Governmentality and State and is a member of the Argentine Welfare Research Network (RAIAS). She is also editor-in-chief of the Cátedra Paralela Journal. During the last decade, her research and teaching activity has been focused on social work, social policy, welfare, government of the poor and neoliberalism.
Gianinna Muñoz-Arce, PhD, is a social worker from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Chile. She is the coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Work Research Cluster and the editor-in-chief of the journal Propuestas Críticas en Trabajo Social – Critical Proposals in Social Work. In addition to her publications in Spanish, she has recently published articles in British Journal of Social Work, European Journal of Social Work, and Critical Social Policy. She is a member of the Chilean Social Work Research Network and the Social Work Action Network.
Multiracial Feminist Democracy or Authoritarianism? The Crisis of Neoliberal Democracy and the Rise of Racial and Religious Nationalism
Speaker: Tarso Luís Ramos
Date: Thursday, September 30, 2021
Supplemental materials courtesy of Tarso Luís Ramos:
The January 6th insurrection was not the swan song of Trumpism. That rebellion against the prospect of transformational multiracial democracy continues in state houses across the country, where attacks on critical race theory, trans athletes, reproductive autonomy, and election integrity provide both the narrative foundation and legislative road map for authoritarianism, American-style. What are the drivers of this crisis and what are the opportunities for building a more just society in our time?
Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director of Political Research Associates (PRA), has been researching and challenging the U.S. Right Wing for more than 25 years. At PRA, Tarso has launched major initiatives on antisemitism, misogyny, authoritarianism, White nationalism, law enforcement, the Far Right, and other threats to democracy. Ramos is a sought-after public speaker and his work has been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, and Time Magazine, among other outlets. Before joining PRA in 2006, Ramos served as founding director of Western States Center’s racial justice program, and exposed and challenged corporate anti-environmental campaigns as director of the Wise Use Public Exposure Project. Ramos recently served as an activist in residence at the Barnard Center for the Study of Women and a Rockwood Leadership Institute National Yearlong Fellow for 2017-2018.
Disability Justice for Our Futures and Our Freedom: On Relational Access, Solidarity Work, and Collective Care
Speaker: Lydia X. Z. Brown
Date: Thursday, April 15, 2021
ABOUT LYDIA X. Z. BROWN
Lydia X. Z. Brown (they/them) is an advocate, educator, and attorney addressing state and interpersonal violence targeting disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language, and nation. Brown is policy counsel for privacy and data at the Center for Democracy & Technology, focused on algorithmic discrimination and disability, as well as director of policy, advocacy, and external affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They are founding director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, & Empowerment. Brown is an adjunct lecturer/core faculty in Georgetown University’s Disability Studies Program and an adjunct professorial lecturer in American Studies at American University’s Department of Critical Race, Gender, & Culture Studies. They serve as a commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, chairperson of the ABA Civil Rights & Social Justice Section’s Disability Rights Committee, board member of the Disability Rights Bar Association, and representative for the Disability Justice Committee to the National Lawyers Guild’s National Executive Committee.
From Settler Colonialism to Self-Determination: An Indigenous Perspective on Decolonizing Social Work
Speaker: Autumn Asher BlackDeer
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021
As social work moves toward reckoning with white supremacy, one vital piece of the discussion is often missing from the conversation: settler colonialism. Indigenous communities have contended with these disparities resulting from settler colonialism throughout time, often framing our interaction with the field of social work. This presentation will discuss previous harms against Native communities in both research and practice, highlight Indigenous contributions to social work, and ultimately address how settler colonialism relates to present day white supremacy. Centering Indigenous perspectives, this talk will conclude with self-determination as a way forward to decolonize social work.
ABOUT AUTUMN ASHER BLACKDEER
Autumn Asher BlackDeer is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and is a doctoral candidate in social work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research is focused on interpersonal violence and behavioral health among Indigenous communities. Autumn holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Arkansas Tech University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa. Autumn is a strong proponent for American Indian higher education, an advocate for survivors of sexual violence, and is committed to achieving equity and highlighting resiliency throughout Indian Country.
Black Contributions to Social Welfare & Social Work: A Legacy of Black Self-help, Resistance, and Liberation
Speaker: Justin S. Harty
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2021
Despite having a long and rich history of mutual aid towards families, communities, and neighbors, Black people have repeatedly been excluded from the histories of social welfare and social work. This talk will leverage historical texts, social work conference proceedings, and archival documents to highlight historical contributions to social work and social welfare made by Black individuals, leaders, communities, organizations, and movements that are often absent in the dominant literature of our social work profession. Topics of discussion will include historical Black efforts towards self-help, preservation, liberation, activism, and social justice and a social work profession failing to recognize these efforts as “social work” while struggling to confront anti-Black racism, train Black social workers, and meet the needs of the Black community.
ABOUT JUSTIN S. HARTY
Justin S. Harty is a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both sociology and philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. He received his master’s of social work, with a concentration in children and families, from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. After earning a master’s degree, he worked for three years as a foster care worker in Chicago, Illinois. He is a licensed clinical social worker serving child welfare involved fathers and provides father-focused trainings to child welfare, foster care, and family strengthening agencies around father involvement and engagement. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, University of Illinois Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice teaching courses on human behavior in the social environment, critical social work, and introductory research methods.
Harty’s research interests include the outcomes and preparedness of young fathers aging out of the foster care system, father engagement in child welfare services, and father-related social services in the history of the social work profession. His current research examines ways to better serve fathers in home visiting, child welfare, and foster care settings. He is currently conducting his qualitative dissertation research on the experiences and needs of young Black fathers in foster care as they leave state care and transition to independent adulthood and early fatherhood. He also conducts historical research on Black contributions to mutual aid, social welfare, and social work history and is currently working with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and several U.S. social work programs to better integrate the history of Black social workers into their curriculum.
Harty is the project coordinator and research assistant on the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) leveraging longitudinal youth and worker surveys as well as child welfare and publicly available administrative data to examine the impact of extended foster care among transition-aged foster youth in California. He is also a research assistant on the Dads Matter-HV study using quantitative and qualitative data along with agency-level administrative data to test a father-focused intervention enhancement to home visiting services in Chicago, Illinois. He is the principal investigator of the Daddy Doula study preparing to pilot an intervention targeting low-income and vulnerable fathers through a father-focused enhancement to existing community-based doula services Chicago, Illinois.
White Antiracist Organizing: Dismantling White Supremacy as part of a Multiracial Movement
Speaker: Josie Diebold
Date: January 21, 2021
ABOUT JOSIE DIEBOLD
Josie Diebold (she/her) is a PhD Candidate at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work in New York. She is a community organizer with the local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national organization that works to engage white people in sustained, active antiracism in accountability to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations. Her scholarship and organizing both center on white antiracist organizing and harnessing power to dismantle white supremacy as part of a multiracial movement for racial justice. Josie has been involved in local and national campaigns to defund the police and decarcerate jails and prisons, grounded in the long-term vision of prison abolition. She is an adjunct in the Master of Social Work program at the University at Buffalo and has lived in the Western New York area for the majority of her life.
Social Work and Racial Capitalism: Where Do We Go From Here?
Speaker: Masoud Kamali, PhD
Date: October 31, 2020
ABOUT DR. KAMALI
Masoud Kamali, PhD is currently the scientific leader of the research and consulting organization ‘Incare Sweden AB’. Prior to 2019, he was a Professor of Social Work at Mid Sweden University and established the only global and educational program of social work with an anti-racism profile. This theoretical framework and practice have had a seminal influence in the education and training of social workers in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
Dr. Kamali was appointed by the Swedish government as the National Leader of the Governmental Inquiry into Power, Integration and Structural Discrimination between 2004 – 2006. The results and suggestions from the Inquiry have led to many anti-oppressive changes in Swedish social policy and the educational system. He has extensive research experience and has published work in the of social work and sociology fields with clear global perspectives on current social problems, such as neoliberalism, war, violence, forced migration, inequalities and discrimination. Dr. Kamali is the author of over sixty books, book chapters, peer-reviewed articles and research reports. His forth- coming book, Neoliberalism, securitisation and symbolic violence: silencing political academic and societal resistance, will be published this year.
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