May 29, 2020
Dear "Howard" Social Work Students:
Many events are taking place that causes individual and collective pain. This week the United States surpassed 100,000 deaths related to COVID-19, and globally the loss is almost 360,000 lives. We are indeed in challenging times. Added to the pandemic's concerns is the disproportionate impact on Black, Red, and Brown families. The recent death by deadly force of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis adds to our deep pain. As an important individual who lost his life in full view of the nation, he also represents the many lives lost through racist behaviors in this country. I extend my sincere condolences to the families and communities that have been infected and affected by the COVID-19 and VIOLENCE pandemics in our nation.
As social work students and recent graduates, I know that you are processing all that is happening. I know how discouraging it is. Yet, I hope that you are reminded of the importance you can play in the world with your focus on the Black Perspective, it's a signature principle of social justice and the importance of the dignity and worth of all persons. Today, we need individuals like you to carry forth a message of caring and healing. The Black Perspective provides context for understanding the rage and outrage that communities feel and reinforces the importance of not allowing simplistic explanations for complicated phenomena.
As a mother, when Mr. Floyd called out "Mama" in his plea to be allowed to breathe, I heard him call out to me. It could have been my sons, your sons, your spouses, your brothers, your fathers, your uncles, your cousins, or your acquaintances. I heard him calling out for help from all of us who stand on the side of social justice. I urge each of you to continue to do your part as "Howard-prepared" social workers. Whether you tweet, write a letter to the newspaper, send a financial contribution to a food bank, or simply unite spiritually, let's each do our part. As a "2020" social worker, I hope you also heard your name called as a social justice warrior.
Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Ph.D., MSW, ACSW
Dean and Professor of Social Work
cc: HUSSW Faculty