The UNCG Department of Social Work is deeply saddened and outraged by the recent brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the racist attack on Christian Cooper in Central Park, the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. These are not isolated incidents, but part of a long, ongoing history and pattern of racial injustice in this country. For each of these incidents, there have been incalculable others that have gone undocumented and ignored. These recent violent acts plus the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on Black communities brings to light, yet again, how deeply embedded racism is into the fabric of the United States.
The NASW Code of Ethics mandates that Social Justice is one of our charges as social workers. This does not mean that we just adhere to social justice issues, but specifically states that, “Social workers challenge social injustice.” It is our ethical responsibility as social workers to actively engage in challenging those systems that engage in systematic and structural racism and violence against those who are marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed. As the great Civil Rights activist, Bayard Rustin said, “There are times when you can do nothing, but cry out against injustice. Even the stones would cry out if you did not cry out.” As social workers, not only do we need to heed the call of Bayard Rustin and cry out against injustice, we must actively stand up against all injustices.