NASW Kansas Chapter statement on standing up to racism

Jun 8, 2020

Hands Raised Multi Racial

Dear Friends/Colleague:

Our hearts are heavy.

Anger makes sense!

Sadness makes sense!

As our country mourns the death of George Floyd and offer prayers for his family. Those who knew George Floyd best say that he was a kind and gentle person.

Many Black families are saying they are not only mourning the death of George Floyd, but watching in frustration as another generation of black children witnesses the deficiencies of justice in the United States.

The need to really confront racial justice head-on in our country has been front and center with recent incidents where unarmed Black people have been killed by law enforcement, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, or been racially profiled, such as the case of birdwatcher Christian Cooper in Central Park.

Social workers are a profession called to action, it is rooted in our education, our Code of Ethics and ingrained in who we are. We are called to fight for social justice, and we do so, daily.  .

We must not stand by as the pain, trauma, and voices of our neighbors and communities go unheard. We must do better.

In times of pain and uncertainty, we may ask ourselves “What can I do?” “How could this happen?” and “When will this stop?”

While there may be no words that feel helpful right now, as social workers, we can look to our professional core values for guidance: dignity and worth of the individual, service, and social justice.

I have asked what I can do and what can NASW do during this time of deep collective pain. How do we use our skills to help those traumatized while working for system change? I’ve felt powerless and inadequate and search for answers.

Being sad and outraged is not enough. We must do better. We must ALL join this fight. At times in our history when big shifts were made, it was because people came together.

Together we must start imagining and demanding an equitable future and be committed to social justice for all. Advocating for systematic change is what we as social workers believe in and is core to our profession.

In social work solidarity,
Becky Fast – Executive Director of Kansas Chapter