News Details

Dean’s and Advisory Committee on Race and Social Justice’s Response to Recent Events

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Student Life


As a school focused on addressing social injustice, SP2’s challenges are greater than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic has a grip on our daily conscious and activities. Many of us are consumed with the uncertainties of our jobs, the well-being of our loved ones, our own futures, and lives. It seems like we can barely catch our breaths and are trying to tend to a multitude of present-day, present-minute, and present-second demands, as well as concerns and questions in our personal and professional lives.

In the midst of a global pandemic, we are witnessing the fragile gauze that covered decades of inequities, and centuries of unequal treatment and trauma unravel, exposing the deep seeded scars of our country. The wounds of racism that have never healed and have infected the fabric of our institutions of health, education, criminal justice, housing, etc. will continue to do so long past this pandemic, if we are not able to collectively as a society, not only dress these wounds but get at their root causes – namely, white supremacy, colonialism, and the patriarchy, among others.

The visualization of Ahmaud Arbery being shot to death and the real-time footage of George Floyd’s murder were nothing less than traumatic and present-day lynchings, further compounded by inappropriate responses of our law enforcement and legal systems. These are not isolated events but atrocities in the context of multiple unnecessary killings of Black individuals.

On top of the grave disparities Black and Brown people already face due to white supremacy, colonialism, the patriarchy, and other systems of oppression, COVID-19 exacerbates health inequities as evidenced in the greater proportion of deaths in these communities. Furthermore, the response to this virus has highlighted long-standing anti-Asian and xenophobic prejudices. The pandemic unveils what we already know, that our current policies and practices don’t effectively and adequately address the health, economic, and social justice inequities that exist.

As a school and community, in crises mode, we condemn the continued violence against Black and Brown people and sustain that justice is the way for peace. SP2 is a place where we can foster dialogue between communities and authorities, between students, faculty and administration. Social work has had a historical role in bridging the gap between the socially excluded and the ruling class. We believe that our anger and rage can direct us to a creative dialogue searching for immediate, and long-term solutions to address every injustice that minority communities have experienced for centuries. This dialogue has been delayed and it cannot continue being ignored anymore. In addition, anger and rage can only serve to promote institutional change if they are channeled through coalition-building, analysis, and strategy.

Sara S. Bachman, Dean

Members of the Committee on Race and Social Justice Involved in Writing this Message

Obed Arango, Part-time Lecturer, MSW Program
Jerri Bourjolly, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, MSW Program Director
Eda Kauffman, Field Director
Amy Hillier, Associate Professor, MSW Program
Melanie Masin-Moyer, Senior Lecturer, MSW Program, Assistant Director DSW Program
Azahara Palomeque, Associate Director, MS in Social Policy Program
Ariel Schwartz, Managing Director, Center for Social Impact Strategy, Lecturer NPL Program
Joey Wong, Student, NPL Program