Race + Justice

To heighten diversity and justice awareness and achieve the goal of a culturally sensitive student body, BC Social Work has, since 2006, engaged in a continuous process of planning, implementing, and evaluating initiatives aimed at building a community that welcomes and supports persons with diverse identities. This year’s theme was Race + Justice.


B L A C K  H I S T O R Y  M O N T H
A Courageous Fighter for Civil Rights
Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin, who was 15 years old when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus nine months before Rosa Parks’ similar protest, presented a talk on her life story in February at the BC School of Social Work. Colvin’s trailblazing action occurred 60 years ago.

The event celebrating Black History Month was covered by the Boston Globe, which highlighted the three generations of Colvin women who were in attendance that day. Claudette’s granddaughter Jennifer is now a second-year MSW student at BC Social Work, and Jennifer’s mother Cheryl played an important role organizing the 50th anniversary jubilee commemorating the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. READ MORE ON OUR BLOG >>

Watch video highlights of Colvin’s talk

D I V E R S I T Y   C O N F E R E N C E
‘Policy Is Power’
“Programs are progress but policy is power,” said keynote speaker John Jackson at BC Social Work’s 2015 Diversity Conference in January. “If we want to change the culture, we must institutionalize policies to change the trajectory.” The school addressed the themes of race and justice head-on at the event, exploring the intersections of diversity and social work practice for a better understanding of the people and communities served.

Jackson, the president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and a former member of President Obama’s Education Policy Transition Work Group, engaged the topic by calling for a “fair and substantive opportunity to learn” for all, regardless of socio-economic background. This is the “lifeline to address many of the social problems that exist in our country today.” Jackson explained that policies are what lead to difference, not biology, and that to truly create change, we are charged as leaders in our field to mold policies to more justly serve diverse communities of Americans. “Our challenge. . . is to identify those social policies and social practices which lead to outcomes that are identifiable by race, ethnicity, or gender and remove them,” he said. READ MORE ON OUR BLOG >>

Watch video highlights of Jackson’s talk

P I N D E R H U G H E S   L E C T U R E
Raheim’s Call to Action
University of Connecticut School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim presented the ninth annual Pinderhughes Diversity Lecture on April 15 at BC Social Work. Salome’s talk, “Race and Justice: From Analysis to Action,” focused on the current dialogue on police violence against African Americans, as well as on the mass incarceration of blacks in the U.S. prison system. She offered a call to action.

“The first thing that we can do to move from our analysis to action,” she explained, “is to start where we are, wherever we are. . . In schools of social work specifically, we have the power and the privilege of introducing thousands of people who want to make the world a better place or want to make a positive contribution. . . to ways that they might address racial injustice.” READ MORE ON OUR BLOG >>

Watch a video of Raheim’s unique gift of song.