School of Social Work Addressing Racial Injustice

Percy Brown, Jr.

In today’s social and political climate, confronting issues around building a more racially equitable society are as important as ever. On Monday, January 30th the School of Social Work hosted the 3rd annual “Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Conference,” one of many events the School hosts to engage with the community and students on racial injustice.


Around 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended over a dozen workshops and innovation panels focusing on this year’s theme: “Engaging in racial and social justice action; the intersectionality of Race, Mental Health, and Poverty.” Attendees also listened to keynote addresses from Armando Hernandez, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Integrated Health for the Madison Metropolitan School District, and Percy Brown, Jr., Director of Equity and Student Achievement for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Both presentations will soon be publicly available on the School of Social Work YouTube page.


“The conference aimed to present a large variety of ways to work on racial and social justice from many perspectives,” comments event co-organizer Jenny Braunginn, MSSW. “Our social work code of ethics actually MANDATES social workers to work for social justice. We need people doing ALL levels and types of social justice work to improve racial and social equity.”


In challenging social workers to engage in racial and social justice action, the annual conference’s goals were to:

  • Explore the impact of social policies and social services on racial inequities, including the unintended consequences of those policies and services.
  • Challenge and empower social workers to address structural inequalities within their spheres of influence.
  • Support social workers working toward an increasingly equitable and racially just society.
  • Celebrate the profound social justice actions of our social work community.

The School would like to extend its thanks to all who attended, to those who presented, and to the faculty, staff, and students who served on the organizing committee and as volunteers. If you are interested in getting information or handouts from the event or have suggestions for future topics of discussion around racial injustice, contact Jenny at

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Last edited by portier on Thursday, February 02, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version