RACISM IS AMERICA’S HUMAN STAIN; Social Welfare Action Alliance

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“Racism is America’s human stain. Many individuals around the globe are rightfully protesting the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Avery, and Breonna Taylor. All were black and their lives were cut short due to unlawful actions by the police and vigilantes. Since 1619, we have witnessed continuous unjust murders of brown and black people, coupled with a disproportionate number who are sentenced to prison and spend endless months and years in solitary confinement.  Racial injustice is why there are protests throughout our nation and around the globe. Black lives matter!”

Mildred JoynerThese words were written by Mildred “Mit” C. Joyner, MSW, LCSW ,the incoming President of the NASW. She is professor emerita of social work at West Chester University (WCU) in Pennsylvania. Joyner received a BSW from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and her MSW from Howard University’s School of Social Work in Washington, DC. 

       Her professional career began at Chester County Children and Youth services as a protective service worker; she was promoted to department head, then legal liaison of the child abuse unit. Joyner later joined the faculty at WCU as an associate professor, where she was elected by the faculty as department chair of the undergraduate social work department. She retired from the university as a full professor, and presently works as a consultant. 

       Joyner is a member of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, Council on Social Work Education, and NASW, where she recently ended her term as national vice president. In West Chester she serves on the board of directors of Chester County Food Bank and is a bank director at DNBFirst.

She goes on to say, “social justice is a core social work value: it demands that as practitioners, social workers uphold their code of ethics and take deliberate actions so justice and equity exist in all communities. Social workers who understand the history of why brown and black people are unsafe in their own country can work to dismantle oppressive institutional policies and practices. In order to advocate for vulnerable groups, you must understand the centuries of inequalities that exist in this country. Unfortunately, during this time in our nation’s history some individuals still question the actions of the protesters rather than focus on why the protests are occurring.”

She then goes on to share resources that aim to heighten awareness about social inconsistency and social injustice and how they disproportionately affect the day-to-day lives of brown and black people.  We want to share this essay and these resources with you.


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