Dear CalSWEC Community:
In the past two weeks we have witnessed a collective response from people worldwide who are tired of enduring the longstanding systemic racism and killing of black members in our communities. The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others at the hands of law enforcement must stop. We also acknowledge that the continued injustice is currently underscored by the backdrop of a pandemic that is disproportionately harming black and brown Americans. Many of you receiving this letter can speak to that sense of pain, fear, and grief firsthand. Others, particularly those of us who are white, must task ourselves with learning, questioning, and disrupting our silence and privilege. It is our responsibility to be anti-racist, as racism is a disease that spreads beyond the scope of police brutality, and is pervasive in our everyday work and lives.
Anti-oppressive practice and unlearning is as pertinent today as it was when social work was first conceptualized. As a community of social workers, we are guided by tenets set forth in the NASW code of ethics, which presents social justice as its second value above the ethical principle that social workers challenge social injustice. We advocate for members of our communities who need access to supportive services, health care and housing and we support families to become self-sufficient. We are practitioners of behavioral health services for underserved communities; we serve our communities as leaders, child welfare workers, advocates, community organizers, researchers, clinicians, educators, administrators, elected officials, and many more areas of need. Social workers make a difference; collectively our voices need to be heard much louder than ever.
Thirty years ago, CalSWEC was founded upon the principles of equity and access. CalSWEC’s mission is firmly grounded in our goal to recruit and educate a social work workforce that is committed to social justice, that is reflective of the populations served, and that provides culturally humble and responsive services. Today, we feel called to speak out against the ongoing, intransigent, and destructive forces of systemic racism in our society.
CalSWEC leadership stands with you during this extraordinarily challenging time. We stand with Black Lives Matter and commit to educating ourselves and upholding the values of anti-racism, equity, social justice and inclusion in our work with each other, our students, and our consortium schools. We are engaging and seeking input from our staff as we develop concrete and ongoing steps to uphold these values. We also commit to share these steps and outcomes with you as we move forward.
The CalSWEC Leadership Team