Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Committee

DEI Committee Updates for Website 

Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Committee  

Fall 2021 

Chair/Co-chairs: Laura Dresser and Kadijha Marquardt-Davis 

Fall 2021 Committee Members: Committee or Group: Jeanne Ferguson, Jenny Braunginn, Angela Willits, Alice Egan, Hannah Klusendorf, Nicole Kruschke, Jason Lee, Meg Jenkins Morales, Evelyn Coker, Bethany Matson 

 

 

2021-22 (December) Report Out 

#3 Equip our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and social work community partners to be social justice leaders who can address diversity, equity, and inclusion in their lives and careers.  

Objective(s): The Conference will bring the fundamental questions of structure and systems of racism into the profession of social work, the SSW, and the community doing SW in Dane County. The committee will work to structure a conference that helps Social Workers see and dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy. The conference will provide training that builds skills and commitment, rooted in radical hope, to do this work. 

Radical Hope in a Racialized Society is the theme for our 2022 Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Conference. This year, our conference challenges social workers to engage in racial and social justice action and provides them the skills and motivation to do so.  

We will celebrate the profound work going on in our community, learn from leaders about concrete steps to move toward justice our work at every level of social work practice, and explore ideas and opportunities for advocating for the fundamental changes that our work requires. 

Increase the acceptance numbers of applicants of color and those identifying as male and gender non-conforming by determining and addressing barriers that current admissions policies and processes may present. 

Current & Future Action Steps/Timeframes: 

  • Fall semester, conference planning.  
  • Deliver conference Friday Jan 28 and Friday Feb 4.  
  • Spring semester, evaluation and reflection and planning for 2023 

Strategic Plan Progress Report April 2021

Committee NameSocial Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Conference Planning Committee

Committee Members:  Jenny Braunginn, Laura Dresser, Angela Willits, Alice Egan, Jeanne Ferguson, Hannah Klusendorf, Aaron Raasch, Gerald, Eggleston, Jason Lee, Meg Jenkins Morales, Bethany Matson, Alice Caceres, Maddy Moran, York Chow, Kelly Forman, Lindsey Zblewski

Strategic Plan Goal 3:  Equip our students, faculty, alumni, and social work community partners to be social work leaders who an address diversity, equity and inclusion in their lives and careers.

Objective: Bring the fundamental questions of structure and systems of racism into the profession of social work, the SSW, and the community doing SW in Dane County. Build a conference that helps Social Workers see and dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy.   Conference: Moving SW into Anti-Racist Practice. Focus on practice to help recognize systems of oppression, SW engagement in them, and how social work can move toward more liberatory practice.

Progress on goal since February 2021:

Event Report

On Feb. 5th and Feb. 12th 2021, the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work at hosted our 7th annual conference. Focusing on moving into action with abolitionist and anti-racist ideas, a total of 26 speakers provided 11 breakout sessions and two plenaries with a Wisconsin focus tying directly into national conversations around anti-racist and abolitionist ideas within social work. The conference was online, open to all (in Wisconsin and beyond), free to attend, and provided CEUs.

Additionally, we were an Institutional Supporter of the Social Work, White Supremacy and Racial Justice Symposium (a national series developed by schools of social work at the University of Houston, UCLA, Howard University, and Arizona State). The symposium took place on Jan. 28-29 and we encouraged participation in that symposium.

Our topics and themes were timely and the reach of the conference this year certainly owed, in part, to the growing and needed focus on racial justice and abolitionist ideas. But it is worth remembering that the success of this year’s conference is rooted in a 6 year history and strong established reputation of this event and the way the planning each year has held a steady focus on racial justice, alternative voices, challenging perspectives, and radical possibilities. From this soil, the conference blossomed this year from an important local event to a national convening.

High Interest and Engagement from SRSSW and beyond

Registration

The conference was extremely popular this year. Nearly 5000 registered for Feb 5 and over 4000 registered for Feb 12. (Note that as with many free online events, registration does not always guarantee attendance. But it does demonstrate interest and the strong pull of the issues and the format. More on actual engagement below.)

This is remarkable, as roughly 10 times as many people registered for the online event as have come to the live event in previous years, where registration has traditionally been capped at 500. On each day, the registrations included more than 600 who had a direct relationship with the Sandra Rosenbaum SSW but on Feb 5, an additional 4339 registered who had no relationship to SSW and on Feb 12, 3604 reported no direct relationship to the SSW when the registered.

Total Registration 4998 4276
No Direct Relationship with SSW 4339 3604
Direct Relationship with SSW 659 672

Attendance

Attendance also was impressive and dramatically higher because of the accessibility of the online format. For a summary sense of the reach of the event, we know that there were 9096 engagements with the conference in live events. (See details in the table at the end of this document.) This includes some 4500 views of the two plenaries live on YouTube, as well as participation more than 4500 viewers for the breakout sessions. (Obviously, sometimes the same people are watching multiple events. Best to think of this as 9096 engagements with the material, rather than 9096 people. But still impressive reach.)

An additional strength of the online format for delivery of events was easy recording of them. Now we have 10 breakout sessions and 1 plenary available to anyone as well as the recording of Patrisse Cullors which is available to members of the SSW community. As of April 7, these recordings have been watched 2643 times on our YouTube channel.

CEUs

One reason for strong national interest and participation in this event was the provision of free CEUs for participants. This would have been impossible without the considerable generosity and innovation of the field office. But Audrey and Amy made this a priority and Amy developed a system to verify participation and distribute CEUs certificates. For the various events across the two days, 4819 CEUs were awarded. (Details available in table at the end of this document.)

Timely Topics, Great Presenters, High Satisfaction of Attendees

The evaluations from conference attendees were very positive, glowing even. For both days of the conference, 95% of those who submitted evaluations rated the conference as either excellent (5), or just short of excellent (4). Comments were overwhelmingly positive, for plenary events and for workshops and for the overall impact of the event. Respondents also noted their gratitude that the event was so accessible and that the format and speakers were engaging. It is especially remarkable to review the comments from so many both in Madison, who have not been able to participate in the past because it fills up so fast, and those from much farther away who would never have been part of the event.

Take-Aways

  1. The event was a success. Great speakers and themes and high participation and engagement and heroic work to pivot to online structures allowed our annual conference to reach a local and national audience. This year our reach far exceeded the reach of past events.
  2. The online format was more accessible. This is true in part because we don’t have to have restrictive registration caps that we do have with a physical space. But it was accessible in other important ways as well. It was free. It was accessible to those with mobility issues, those who live out of town, to folks that can’t take an entire day off but can take a few hours.
  3. The recordings from the event are an important resource to support learning in the SSW community. The online format made it possible to get high quality recordings of nearly all events and this library is available for teaching and for the community.

As a result of these reflections, the conference committee will plan for an online event in 2022, similar in format (two Fridays early in the spring semester, a mix of plenary and breakouts). We will consider in person events that might be added on around the online events (i.e. events to watch in the same room, or to reflect after a panel, etc.) We expect our focus to engage with the radical possibility and imagination that abolitionist and anti-racist work requires and builds toward.

Structural Issues in this Work

One of the most striking issues confronting this work is our continued struggle to find ways to honor the work of Black and brown leaders who step up to contribute to our learning as a community. We have increased our financial support to our presenters to honor their critical work in preparing and presenting to this audience. Unfortunately, the UW makes it nearly impossible to actually pay those who are affiliated with the UW as they present to us. We remain committed to finding ways to reward this work. But critically, the UW needs to alter these policies so that speakers addressing issues at the core of this conference are not forced to go above and beyond their jobs with no reward or financial acknowledgement from the university.

The UW continually stresses Equity and Inclusion as critical goals. However, if we do not appropriately compensate our Black and Brown leaders and speakers, we are perpetuating systemic racism as a university.  There must be more flexible and creative ways for us to pay our speakers and not expect professionals to speak to racism, anti-racist work and systemic change at no honorarium just because of “who they are” or their racial or ethnic background.  UW Madison should become leaders in the recognition of this need and allow ways to appropriately compensate these speakers.

We also are firmly committed to keeping the learnings space safe for our speakers and presenters. This will require more conscious planning as we consider our work for next year.

Panel Title Speakers   Live attendance Total Reach (Live plus YouTube views as of 4/7/2021) CEUs awarded
Patrisse Cullors Discussion (Opening Keynote Feb 5) Bethany Matson, Patrisse Cullors 3402 3462 1,024
Reimagine a Black Feminist Social Work (Closing Plenary Feb 12) Sakara Wages, Dr. Damita Brown, Jacquelyn Boggess 1100 2131 860
Centering Justice and Lived Experience Dani Rischall, Carmella Glenn, Tim Saubers, Tara Wilhelmi, Alysha Clark 279 431 152
Exclusion by Design: The History of Anti-Black Racism in the Child Welfare System Dr. Sherri Simmons-Horton 654 962 460
Healing From Within Dr. Janeile Luebke, Barb Blackdeer-Mackenzie 258 415 153
Preventing Further Harm: Addressing Violence Without Police Monique Minkens, Kathy Flores 687 852 482
The Role of Social Workers in Immigration Legal Services Organizations Rená E. Cutlip-Mason; Adriana López; Kursten Phelps 128 280 79
Walking Around That Corner of Trans, Race, and Class Cecelia Gentili, Gia Love 260 260 178
Abolitionist Restorative Justice Dr. Damita Brown 684 771 433
Anti-Racist Organizational Change Jacquelyn Boggess, Michele Mackey, Stephanie Muñoz 715 848 437
Are African American Men Deserving of the American Dream Dr. David Pate, Jr. 196 341 111
Supporting Healthy Families: Black Communications Jalateefa Joe-Meyers, Wanda Smith 434 510 265
Understanding the Impact of Racism & White Supremacy on US Immigration System Erin Barbato, Erika Rosales 299 476 185

Chair/Co-chairs: Laura Dresser & Kadijha Marquardt-Davis 

On Jan. 28th and Feb. 4th 2022, the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work at hosted our 8th Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice conference. Focusing on radical hope in a racialized society, a total of 37 speakers provided 13 breakout sessions and two plenaries to support the transformation of social work at every level of practice and to inform this transformation with ideas of radical change, radical hope, and deeply anti-racist practice. 

As with the 2021 conference, the 2022 conference was online, open to all (in Wisconsin and beyond), free to attend, and provided CEUs. 

More than 2000 individuals registered both of the Fridays of the conference. 

Engagement was impressive. There were 5325 engagements with the conference in live events. (Details available in conference report, attached). This includes over 2800 views of the two plenaries live on YouTube, as well as participation more than 2400 viewers for the breakout sessions. In addition to live engagement, all content is available on our SSW YouTube channel. As of March 11, this year’s recordings have been watched more than 2000 times.  

For the events across the two days, the SSW awarded over 3200 CEUs. 

90% of those who submitted evaluations rated the conference as either excellent (5), or just short of excellent (4). Comments were overwhelmingly positive, for plenary events and for workshops and for the overall impact of the event. 

Additionally, we are very happy with the community co-chair structure which had a very successful first year given the work, experience, and commitment of MSW alum Kadijha Marquardt-Davis. We paid her an honorarium for this work and feel this is a good model for staying connected with community leaders in SSW projects.  

We are also pleased with the way this conference brings community from across the nation, but especially highlights leaders in Dane County and spotlights the work going on here for a broad audience.   

Chair/Co-chairs: Laura Dresser, Kadijah Marquardt-Davis & Bethany Matson

Fall 2023 Committee Members: Jenny Brauginn, Angela Willits, Alice Egan, Lara Gerassi, Marci Ybarra, Hannah Klusendorf, Amy Basel, Jason Lee, Abbey Scott, Gerald Eggleston, Candace Coates, Kat Liptrot-Plock, Meg Jenkins Morales. York Chow joined the committee.

Objective(s):  The Conference will bring the fundamental questions of structure and systems of racism into the profession of social work, the SSW, and the community doing SW in Dane County. The committee will work to structure a conference that helps Social Workers see disability justice as a framework that can help dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy. The conference will provide training that builds skills and commitment, rooted in disability justice, to do this work.

On Jan. 27th and Feb. 3rd, 2023, the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work hosted our 9th Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Conference with the theme Centering Disability Justice. Over the two Fridays, a total of 33 speakers provided 11 breakout sessions and two plenary sessions bringing racial and disability justice to the center of the transformation of social work at every level of practice.

As with the previous two years, the 2023 conference was online, open to all (in Wisconsin and beyond), free to attend, and provided CEUs to support professional development in the field.

As with previous years, 2023 conference engagement was impressive. For a summary sense of the reach of the event, we know that there were 4862 engagements with the conference in live events. (See details in the table at the end of this document.) This includes nearly 2700 views of the two plenaries live on YouTube, as well as more than 2400 viewers for the breakout sessions. (Obviously, sometimes the same people are watching multiple events. Best to think of this as 4862 engagements with the material, rather than 4862 people. Impressive reach slightly lower than 2022 (5325) and much lower than in 2021 with its extraordinary 9000 engagements.)

An additional strength of the online format for delivery of events was easy recording of them. Now we have all content available on our SSW YouTube channel. As of March 13, these recordings have been watched more than 2428 times. (A slightly higher viewing of the recordings than last year.)

See above. (And the CRIC2023 report, which is available and holds details on reach and evaluation and successes this year.)

Important to highlight the investment in accessibility and inclusion this year. McBurney worked with us, providing interpretation and closed captioning. We also worked hard to make the conference accessible in other ways (visual descriptions, attention to breaks, etc.).

Having two community co-chairs continues to be a great way to share the work of this conference and gain from (and honor) the contributions of leading social workers in the community. Kadijha and Bethany contribute so much to every aspect of this conference. We very much hope these relationships will inform our work next year. Further, the honorarium for their work on the conference provides a possible model for rewarding and connecting to expertise in the field for the SRSSW in other projects.