A Statement from Our Deans

Over the past few months, we have seen both the best and worst of humanity. Campuses and communities have demonstrated extraordinary care for one another during this pandemic. The pandemic also is a backdrop that magnifies a continuum of racism that has created inequity, fueled violence, and intensified prejudices. Recent acts of violence and racism directed at people of color tax the patience, health, and safety of our staff, students, and faculty of color. Witnessing these public events renews our commitmentas educators and social workersto understand and acknowledge the effects of privilege and oppression, and work to create a more equitable world.

The list of injustices experienced during this health crisis is long, and likely will grow longer and more difficult: Negative stereotypes and references to the "Chinese virus," and other anti-Asian comments on social media and in the press by global leaders and lawmakers led to a spike in verbal and physical attacks on members of the Asian community. Startling disparities in infection, hospitalization, and mortality continue among African Americans, LatinX residents, and Native Americans. A White woman weaponizes her White privilege to demonize a Black man who attempts to birdwatch in Central Park. White men chase, shoot, and kill a male Black jogger and avoid arrest for months in Georgia. Law enforcement continue to use excessive force and abuse their powerkneeling on the neck of a Black man who begs for air, killing him and launching days of destruction in Minneapolis, and shooting a Black transgender man in Tallahassee. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Tony McDade. And countless other names unknown or unsaid.

Digging out requires a combination of strategies: organizing, protesting, electoral engagement, accountability for those who commit violence, legislative and policy changes, and more. There are no easy answers or fixes. And the work must be shared equally: White people must join as allies with people of color in condemning racist rhetoric and race-based violence and policies, and work as committed partners in action and organizing.

We call on all our White community members to step up, commit to anti-racism work, and non-black people of color to explicitly address anti-blackness. We must all engage in action-oriented solutions to combat systemic and institutional racism, minimize disparities, and end racial violence.

Sara Furr, Dean of Students, Diversity and Inclusion, School of Social Service Administration

Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dean, School of Social Service Administration

Non-Black People of Color & White People: Challenge Your Own Racism and that of Others

Educate yourself and stay informed. Engage with current and historical works, such as:

Organize and participate in within-identity group spaces to gain self-awareness around implicit and explicit biases and participation in upholding and strategies to dismantle white supremacy. For example, organize a group to implement Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook challenge.

Engage in racial justice work. Locate resources on how to be involved (e.g.,  A Guide to Being an Ally75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice6 Things White People Can Do To Reach Friends and Family Members to End Racism).  

Learn about what is happening in your community regarding dismantling anti-Black racism. Showing up for Racial Justice has many chapters around the country and tend to be predominantly white spaces where white people support other white people in becoming anti-racist.

Raise awareness and talk about/acknowledge ongoing and historical roots of racial violence and oppression of Black and Brown communities with family, friends, colleagues, peers, students, etc.

Challenge and address acts of racism and oppression.

Read President Obama’s  How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change  and the report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Contact Your Members of Congress

Contact your Congressional representative to endorse the resolution introduced by Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05), in partnership with Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) denouncing police brutality, racial profiling, and use of excessive force.

Make a Donation to Memorial and Bailout Funds

George Floyd Memorial Fund 

Minnesota Freedom Fund 

I Run with MaudJustice for Ahmaud Arbery Fundraiser 

National Bailout FundsFree Black Mamas

Dream Defenders

Black Visions

Reclaim the Block

MPD150 (People’s Project Evaluating Policing)

Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

Northstar Health (Mutual Aid MN) 

Brooklyn Community Bailout 

Louisville Community Bail Fund

Support Organizations and Groups Working Toward Change

Black Youth Project 100

Color of Change

Race Forward

Communities United for Police Reform

FAKEQUITY

RaceBaitr

Teaching Tolerance

Talk to Your Children

Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice

How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism

How to Talk to Kids about Race

10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids about Race

Resources from the Oak Park Public Library

Say Their NamesA toolkit from Chicago Public Schools to help foster productive conversations about race and civil disobedience

Don't Say Nothing by Jamilah Pitts—From the Teaching Tolerance website