Racial Justice Working Group

“A Call to Action:  NASW-MS Chapter organizes on social injustices to develop a racial justice working group”

The National Association of Social Workers-Mississippi Chapter (NASW-MS) is the state’s local professional social work membership organization with our mission to support, promote, and advocate for professional social work practice and to advance social justice advocacy while improving  the quality of life of all people of Mississippi.  Central to NASW-MS Chapter’s mission, a racial justice working group began meeting several months ago to examine black death to develop a social action response and effect change in the voting process.  A four pronged approach was developed to include political action, education outreach/student engagement, social action, and collaboration with community alliances.   Through this effort, a student led subgroup, initially identified as  Mississippi Social Work Students, was developed from conversations and meetings through the NASW-MS Chapter working group and from the  education outreach subgroup meetings with schools of social work programs.  The intended purpose for the student-led group is to provide social work students across the state of Mississippi  safe spaces to communicate on a variety of topics. The first student forum was held about  voter registration, informed voting, and voter suppression. Since the initial meeting, the student group has developed a board and has changed their name to Fighting Racial Equality through Engagement and Dialogue (F.R.E.E.D) to bring together students to impact outcomes in making effective change. You can follow NASW-MS Chapter and  the student group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/931706620663915

The Core Issue Extends Beyond Police Brutality

NASW-MS Urges a Push for More Sound Policies and Legislation for Black Communities

Our local Mississippi Chapter joins with the National Association and its leaders and members to condemn the murder and killing of another unarmed African American black man, George Floyd. Unfortunately, recently we have witnessed an unwarranted act of violence by those meant to protect and serve our communities. Social workers, now more than ever, must be put at the forefront of our communities to help rebuild and repair the disruption of families, businesses, and our communities. As a profession, we must reinvigorate our efforts to address change at the local level. We cannot sit quietly nor silence the Black community as a profession when our mission as a social work profession is to enhance the well-being and help with the basic human needs of all people.

We reaffirm our commitment to work to shape legislation and public policy that protects and strengthens the social work profession so that we may not only address policy brutality, but also systemic and structural injustices that disproportionately affect the Black community. This core issue has extended into other parts of our society where black Americans and black Mississippians also face structural barriers when it comes to securing quality housing, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

Therefore, we must push for more resources and funding to equip our social workers with tools and information they need to improve the conditions for our black communities in the state of Mississippi. As a Chapter, we will remain vigilant to ensure sound social policies are in place to bring hope and change to all of our communities regardless of race. It is our commitment as a social work professional to advance the role of social work in affecting social change.

With the National Association, we stand boldly on the issues of police brutality, systematic racism, and social injustices of black people. We must also remain cognizant that law enforcement is intertwined within in our communities, and therefore, we must collectively take action to be a voice for the Black community in the state. The time is now to work together to address the requirements of accountability in the civilian complaint process, transparent body camera practices, safe and consistent practices in officer and black civilian interactions, and increased training and regular conflict mediation training by social workers for local police departments. Social workers must also be a resource for officers who have had to cope with the graphic and shocking trauma incidents they have witnessed as a part of their profession. We encourage the social workers of Mississippi to become visible and be present for black residents in the state of Mississippi.

Gwen Bouie-Haynes, PhD, LMSW
Executive Director
National Association of Social Workers Mississippi Chapter
06/09/2020

NASW condemns yet another incident of lethal

police force against an African American

May 28, 2020
NASW strongly condemns the continued death of unarmed people who are African American at the hands of police. We renew our call for the nation to adopt policing reforms to address this crisis. And we offer our condolences to the families of the people who have died.

Read the May 28, 2020 news release