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2020 Racial Justice Symposium

VIEW the Livestream for Day Two!

WATCH the recording of Day One on YouTube

Social work has a complex history of upholding White supremacy alongside a goal to achieve racial justice. Moreover, our profession simultaneously practices within racist systems and works to dismantle them. In the wake of a fervent #BlackLivesMatter movement and persistent racial disparities in key social welfare institutions, these paradoxes have come to the forefront of discussion in academic and practice circles. This unique moment presents an opportunity to interrogate our profession’s relationship to White supremacy and racial justice in order to reimagine an anti-racist future.

We hope you’ll join us for a series of virtual symposia that will address these themes. Symposium events will occur throughout the academic year and will address different aspects of our past, present, and future. Additional information and specific dates are below.

For more information, please contact us at

Laura Abrams, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Sandra Crewe, Howard University School of Social Work

Alan Dettlaff, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

James Herbert Williams, Arizona State University School of Social Work 

Racial Justice Symposium | 2020 - 2021
Event Program Event Information Date RSVP 


Part 1: Social Work’s Historical Legacy of Racism and White Supremacy


Part 1 Program


Part 1 will trace social workers’ constructions of race, racial ideologies, and beliefs through historical accounts that explore social work’s role in coercion, segregation, and displacement across fields of child welfare, juvenile justice, immigration, education, housing, and others. 



Thursday & Friday, November 12 & 13













Part 2: Addressing Racism from within the Social Work Profession: Reflections on our Past and Present









Coming Soon!


Part 2 will provide accounts of how the profession has evolved to begin to confront racism. What have social workers, leaders, and scholars done to challenge the dominant paradigm? From the advent of the National Association of Black Social Workers to innovations in practice, policy, and social work education, this session will address the numerous leaders and discourses that have challenged racism and moved the profession forward.










Thursday & Friday, January 28 & 29









Coming Soon





Part 3: Envisioning an Anti-Racist Future: From Practice to Policy







Coming Soon!


Part 3 explores emerging movements in social work that are working to actively dismantle racism and White supremacy. If anti-racism is the goal, how will we get there? What is the future we can imagine, and what is the future of social work in this new society?








Thursday & Friday, March 4 & 5






Coming Soon





Part 4: Strategies for Achieving Racial Justice in Social Work Education






Coming Soon!


Part 4 continues the exploration of our anti-racist future and the role of social work education in helping to achieve this. What is the future of social work education, and what are the strategies we need to employ to achieve racial justice in social work education?







Thursday & Friday, April 15 & 16






Coming Soon