A Message from Director Stephanie Robert on Charlottesville

Members and friends of the School of Social Work: Unfortunately, what happened in Charlottesville is not surprising to us. It is yet another outward manifestation of what we know to be true – hatred and violence are both tolerated and fostered in our country.


The School of Social Work joins the University leaders in condemning the racist and anti-Semitic ideologies and violence witnessed this week in Charlottesville. In their recent letter to the campus, the Chancellor, Provost, Chief Diversity Officer, and Dean of Students state:


“The use of violence in the service of racist and anti-Semitic ideology is cowardly and against the ideals this country has fought to preserve for generations. We unambiguously reject violence and the ideologies of white supremacist groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis that express hatred of people because of their identities. These organizations are antithetical to the values that this campus represents.”


In the letter, the UW-Madison leadership recommits itself to preserving the safety of our campus community, valuing diversity, and promoting the free expression of viewpoints (that do not include threats of violence). As members and friends of the School of Social Work, we have additional commitments to make.


As social workers, we must unequivocally call out white supremacy, racism, and anti-Semitism by name. But that is not enough. We must also directly confront the root causes of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and every other dimension of systematic oppression and hatred that are, sadly, too long to list.


How do we do this? As individuals and as a social work community, we need to recommit to action plans that better contribute to equity and justice. We need to step up our game. We need to ask ourselves: What will we do differently moving forward? What will we do to question and recognize our own contributions to the maintenance of systematic oppression? How will we model for others that social workers take a stand as both individuals and as a profession to actively combat oppression in small and large ways? What new collaborations will we form, expand, or join to mobilize the diverse voices and talents that will be needed to move us forward to address systematic and institutionalized oppression?


At the School of Social Work, we will continue to examine our own contributions to the maintenance of systematic oppression. And we will continue our commitment to training students and partnering with others to address racial, economic, and social injustice. We invite you to join us as we move forward. We need to do better as individuals and as a social work community. We all need to step up our game.

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Last edited by jmlee29 on Friday, August 18, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version