While I’m writing this post about the Social Work profession, it’s also relevant for many other helping professions.
The International Federation of Social Workers published a post titled Time for a New Social Rights Revolution.
Social Workers are trained in Anti-Oppressive Practice and more importantly, Social Workers are people who have high levels of compassion and empathy and believe in the inherent dignity and worth of persons. For these reasons we are well suited to advocate for equality.
Social Workers are also human and are having internal reactions to what is happening around the world with respect to the protests of systemic racism and violence through the Black Lives Matter movement.
We need to reflect on any privileges we have experienced because of our race, gender, class, age, abilities, religion. While we may not belong to all of the dominant groups in these categories, the fact that we have a post-secondary degree means we have certain privileges.
If we are part of the dominant race in our community (white in North America) then part of our work in advocating for social rights is to acknowledge our privilege and reflect on any uncomfortable thoughts/feelings/urges that we experience when talking about the protests of systemic racism.
Some Social Workers, who are part of the dominant race, are having the following thoughts/feelings/urges:
As a profession, if we want Social Workers to advocate and lead by example, we need to help Social Workers with these experiences. We need actionable strategies to help Social Workers handle these experiences. We cannot assume that because one has a Social Work degree that they know how to deal with this. We know that if given the strategies, resources and support Social Workers will fight hard for equality.
And Social Workers, you are being asked to do this while still trying to manage your own daily vulnerability, stress and grief from Covid-19. Please see my other post on Staying Safely While Advocating For Anti-Racist Policies and find peer support.
Want to learn more and take action? The doctoral student committee of The Society for Social Work and Research has created a list of resources and actions you can take to support the Black Lives Matter movement for human rights and the protest of systemic racism and violence. CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST