SSW Response to George Floyd Tragedy

May 29, 2020

Dear students, alumni and friends, 

As social workers and educators, we want to acknowledge the horrible and tragic death of George Floyd.  Social justice is a core value of the profession, as described in the NASW Code of Ethics: “Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people.”  Thus, we cannot remain silent when we witness acts such as the murder of Mr. Floyd.  We are ethically charged to speak up and speak out.  We cannot sit silently by. It is in that spirit that we offer our thoughts on this blatant act of discrimination, violence, and oppression.  

We are deeply saddened that this happened. While we are outraged and appalled by what we witnessed, we are not shocked.  We see the patterns of racism, oppression, and brutality in our communities again and again.  We see the impacts of hatred and indifference in the clients and communities we work with time and time again.  It is far past time that we come together as a community of learners and educators, of social workers, bound by a belief in creating the common good, and imagine a better future. We commit ourselves to doing that work and invite all of you to join us.    

We offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd, his loved ones, his community, and all who have been hurt, scared, or touched by these events.  We are all part of a beloved community.  None of us can be truly free when some of us are oppressed.  More importantly, we are sorry to any who, because of their skin color, or for that matter any stigmatizing factor, live in fear of those who should be protecting ALL of us. It's not right. And it must change. Now. We are committed to actively being part of that change. 

If you need further help processing what has happened, please know thatcampus resources are available. We hope this announcement at least serves to validate your fears and concerns over this incident.  We hold all members of our community close during these difficult times.  

Faculty of the University of St. Thomas School of Social Work