Dear GSSWSR Community,
The tragic events of the last two weeks in the community of Ferguson, Missouri have been reminders of social challenges that remain to be addressed, especially for us as Social Workers who strive for social justice for all. For some among us, this may seem like a single incident confined to one community. For others, what happened in Ferguson on August 9th and its aftermath of more violence is yet another stark reminder of the inequities and subsequent tensions that are endemic to our country. For many in our School, these events echo not only past events in the USA but are also indicative of the increasing number of ‘hate crimes’ occurring daily in multiple places world-wide—a list of countries, cities, and villages too numerous to name in one email. Yes, in many ways the horrors of Ferguson are many miles away and in many ways, these events are ‘right next door’.
As long-standing and new members of our GSSWSR Community, we must always resist the temptation of simply ‘finger pointing’ and instead seek opportunities to begin to understand the many and complicated perspectives regarding some of the issues inherent in any crisis. Racial discrimination, structural, political and economic oppression, and media bias are just a few of the challenges to be found within the tragedies at Ferguson, again, all countering our profession’s commitment to social justice. Reflecting on these issues is essential to being able to then engage in real dialogues–honest conversations wherein all involved have the courage to risk sharing thoughts and feelings while also staying open to the same from others. This combination then forms the foundation necessary for informed action.
We will soon begin to celebrate our School’s past 100 years. In so doing we will also remember that even today there is much work to be done in our neighborhoods, country, and throughout the world.
I invite all of you to stay tuned for continued ways to join in GSSWSR actions of advocacy on behalf of those we serve.
With very best regards,
Darlyne Bailey, Ph.D, LISW
Dean and Professor
Special Assistant to the President for Community Partnerships
Bryn Mawr College
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
300 Airdale Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-1646