The recent events unfolding across our Country are the latest examples that structural inequalities, racism, and injustice exist to this day. From the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, to the murder of George Floyd and countless others, we must do better and be better. As a University, a School of Social Work, and a Child Welfare Resource Center, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to speak out against the hatred, racism, and bigotry that gives space for these horrific acts. We have a responsibility to challenge policies and systems that continue to perpetuate gaps in opportunity. We are committed to being vocal advocates for change that's long overdue. We will be working to ensure racial equity and justice are centered in all of our services and products. We look forward to partnering with you as we work together to address these most fundamental of rights; liberty and justice.
Helen Cahalane, Ph.D., ACSW, LCSW
Child Welfare Education and Research Programs
Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher
University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work
Michael Byers, MSW
Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center
University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work
Please look for resources via these links at the School of Social Work's website:
Educating ourselves and others is a critical component of combating systemic racism and ending inequality everywhere. There is a wealth of resources online for those who want to understand the past and present of identity-based discrimination around the world and the reforms needed in our society. We invite you to start with our Cultural and Linguistic Competence resources (see below). We hope you will use your learnings to start a conversation in your community about how we can create a just and equitable world for all.
This was adapted from Peter M. Senge's The Fifth Discipline.
How do we change a meeting to build new relationships?
- We gain an understanding of each other's view by thinking through the major issues facing us at this time.
- We seek to be together as colleagues, leaving all our roles and positions at the door.
- Through open and honest dialogue, we must consider ourselves equals, who have substantive knowledge for situations we are considering.
This is achieved through:
- Suspension of assumptions. Typically, people take a position and defend it. Hold what others say when they have opposite positions, and this can have polarizing results. We work to examine our assumptions that are underlying and seek not to defend them but seek to understand them as colleagues.
- We ask everyone to leave their position at the door. We speak as a community of individuals with thoughts and feelings. Through our lived experience, we come with value and knowledge.
- We support the spirit of inquiry. People can explore the thinking behind their views; the more deep-seated assumptions that they may hold, and the evidence that they have which leads them to these views. We hold judgment and ask open and honest questions to understand varying points of view better.
There is a critical need for us all to confront racism and inequality. We must come together to build a deeper understanding of issues around social justice and equity for all. Together as a community, we can develop a better, more equitable future for all.
To do this, we can utilize the System of Care Values of:
- Youth-Driven is having youth included in decisions that affect their care and well-being. Youth are supported in various ways as they share their experiences and their opinions to be leaders at the county and state level.
- Family-Driven is having families as the primary decision-making role in the care of their children, and opportunities provided for positions of leadership at the county and state level.
- Strength-Based and Individualized Practices and Processes identify and build on the individual strengths and concerns of youth, young adults, and family. Plans are created by teams of people to which they are connected.
- Trauma-Informed so that every part of an organization or program understands the effects of trauma on the individuals they serve and promotes cultural and organizational change in responding to those they serve.
- Culturally and Linguistically Competent is the integration and transformation of knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes from and about individuals or groups to enable all team members to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
- Natural Helping Networks are personal associations and relationships, independent from formal services, developed in the community that enhance the quality and security of a family or person’s life.
We believe that learning about and understanding each other is a source of human progress and achieving enduring change. We are deeply committed to providing relevant and actionable learning that furthers the cause of social justice in our world.
For anyone seeking to learn more about social justice and racial inequality, we've curated a collection of webinars to help deepen our understanding of these vital issues. These webinars come from our grant and other experts.
Intersectionality Matters Cultural and Linguistic Competency Webinar
Sharon G. E. Washington is renowned for engaging diverse audiences on the complex intersections of race, historical trauma, social inequality and justice, and the impact of these factors on health outcomes. An award-winning educator, Sharon creates and instructs trainings reflecting the deliberate use of educational settings as safe spaces for healing from the social and cultural trauma of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression that limit the capacity of the human spirit, so that learners may use that power to heal the world.
Addressing Unconscious Bias to Create an Inclusive System of Care Webinar
Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Unconscious bias is defined as the automatic, implicit, and instantaneous association of stereotypes or attitudes towards an individual group of people. Participants learn how unconscious bias influences system of care success while providing pathways better to understand unconscious bias in mental and behavioral health care.
CLC Webinar Understanding Social Media Bullying, Bias, and Microaggressions PA Care Partnership
Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Technology has irrevocably changed the way we connect to others. Social media creates virtual spaces in which new forms of bullying arise, and in which technology-mediated communication and expression afford new ways to harm others. Participants will discuss the role and prevalence of social media bullying, bias, and microaggressions and their impact on systems of care. The webinar will explore the culture of social media and the tools for limiting bullying, bias, and microaggressions in our online worlds.
Culturally Responsive Systems of Care Often Engage The Family First
Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Learn about the distinct cultures of families, and the individualized supports to embracing their diversity. Building an authentic family partnership cannot be achieved when a system of care delivery is dominated by one cultural orientation. Participants will develop an approach for improving the integration of the family culture into their system of care work.