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  1. William Elliott III
    William Elliott and Sophia Nielsen on Reducing Poverty and Promoting Economic Mobility

    Professor William Elliott III and MSW student Sophia Nielsen write about reducing poverty and promoting economic mobility through Child Savings Accounts and other short-term and long-term education investments in College Promise’s latest newsletter.

    PhD Student Charles Williams II Addresses African Americans Distrust of Vaccine

    PhD Student Charles Williams II spoke with the Detroit Free Press about the skepticism in Black communities about the COVID-19 vaccination.  As a clergy member who interacts with patients in hospital settings and in his church, Williams qualified to get an early vaccine.  He hopes to convince his church members that the vaccine is safe.  “As a leader, as a pastor… if I have to be the one to get my arm poked so folks can feel a little bit comfortable about them doing it, so be it,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, current PhD student.

    MSW Students Present at the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission

     After an extensive selection process, the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission selected three groups from Ayesha Ghazi Edwin’s Introduction to Community Organization, Management and Policy/Evaluation Practice classes to present their projects at the commission’s December meeting. The classes spent the semester investigating their equity issues in Ann Arbor,  interviewing stakeholders and community members and making a recommendation. The groups that presented were:

    • Health and Internet Access: Vincent Asta, Michael Holtzman, Sophie Langerman and Brooke Reiter
    • Housing and Racial Equity: Abigail Hampton, Bryant Hepp, Shannon Jajko, Christian Smith and Rachel Vanderbush 
    • Mental Health and Policing: Mansi Brahmbhatt, Heather Burke, Courtney Callahan and Kayla Harper

    The commission works to protect the human and civil rights of the people of Ann Arbor. Its nine members are Ann Arbor residents appointed by the mayor and city council. In addition, Ann Arbor City Council members Elizabeth Nelson and Travis Radina were also present, as was Kathy Wyatt, assistant to the sheriff of Washtenaw County.   

    The commission members requested that students' projects be shared with the rest of council and other city commissions. All of the groups have been invited to participate in ongoing subcommittee meetings. The projects are stored in an "issue bank" that can be accessed by city council and city commission members.

    • December 15, 2020
  4. Danae Ross
    Danae Ross Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Program

    Danae Ross, Joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology, Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Program. The Health Policy Research Scholars is a leadership opportunity for second-year full-time doctoral students from populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines and/or marginalized backgrounds. The program supports and connects emerging scholars who are committed to bringing about meaningful change and building a national culture of health, which enables everyone in America to live longer healthier lives.

    Ross’s research brings an interdisciplinary lens to the study of Black maternal/parental health. Her work centers on the physical and mental health of Black mothers and their infants in sexual and reproductive justice discourses. She investigates how anti-Black culture–particularly related to Black sexuality and parenthood–influences Black maternal/parental-infant lived experiences as well as health outcomes, standard medical recommendations, and health care policy relative to birth and breast/body feeding.

  5. Finn McLafferty Bell
    Finn Bell Named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow

    Finn Bell, Joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology, has been named a Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow. He joins a national cohort of 26 social work experts from around the U.S. and Canada, who will work together on topics ranging from social media to climate justice. Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), this initiative aspires to help prepare a new generation of the profession.

    "For the past seven years, my community-engaged research has been motivated by trying to understand how communities can build the emotional, spiritual, and cultural sustenance necessary to effectively confront the climate crisis,” said Bell. “I am honored to have been selected as a RWJF Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow, as it will give me the opportunity to receive specialized training in futures thinking and connect me with a cohort of social work leaders similarly committed to addressing the ‘wicked problems’ of the 21st century from an intersectional anti-racist lens."

    Shanna and Leo Kattari Edit New Book Social Work and Health Care Practice with Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals

    Assistant Professor Shanna Kattari and Lecturer Leo Kattari have edited a new book “Social Work and Health Care Practice with Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals.” Assistant Professor Ashley Lacombe-Duncan and Joint PhD student Matthew Bakko contributed chapters. 

    The book examines issues across the lifespan of transgender and nonbinary individuals whilst synthesizing conceptual work, empirical evidence, pedagogical content, educational experiences and the voices of transgender and nonbinary individuals.

    U-M President Schlissel Responds to Queer Advocacy Coalition’s Concerns

    At a faculty town hall earlier this month, U-M President Mark Schlissel compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the HIV epidemic in regards to testing. As a result of his remarks, the School’s Queer Advocacy Coalition (QAC) started a petition and called for a public apology. In an email to QAC, Schlissel apologized saying “The analogy I used is not a good or fair one. … It was not my intention to disparage any community or person affected by HIV and AIDS.”

    He adds, “I want to take this opportunity to explicitly denounce all bigoted myths or attempts to stigmatize people who have HIV or AIDS. They are not only harmful, but they also directly counter the equitable and inclusive environment I and many others continuously attempt to foster here at U-M.”

    • August 28, 2020
    Natasha Johnson, PhD ‘20 Receives a Racial Injustice Award From the U-M Depression Center

    Natasha Johnson, PhD ‘20, has received a $5,000 Racial Injustice Award From the U-M Depression Center for her research on racism awareness among Black youths. Her research has the potential to provide empirical support for intervention programs aimed at combating racism by developing a psychometric tool that will evaluate resilient pathways for racially marginalized youth.

    Student Union Encourages Social Workers to Act Now in Support of Recent Supreme Court Rulings

    Dear SSW community,

    "At the Michigan SSW Social Work We Believe... Black Lives Matter, Womxn's Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Love is Love, Environmental Justice is Social Justice, Community is Everything."

    - ABSW Inclusion Sign in McGregor Commons

    Student Union would like to share and highlight the good news of the Supreme Court rulings that have a substantial impact on traditionally marginalized folx and communities, many of whom hold intersectional identities making this week's decisions much more meaningful.

    LGBTQ Rights

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," but it did not specifically name sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. On Monday, June 15, 2020, The Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    There were 3 cases before the court by employees - Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda, and the third case was brought by Aimee Stephens. Donald and Aimee have passed away before the decision was made. Aimee Stephens had worked for six years as a male funeral director in Livonia, Michigan, but was fired two weeks after she told her boss that she was transgender and would be coming to work as a woman.

    Nearly half the states in the country have no legal protection for LGBTQ employees. Now, the federal law will protect employees in those states from firing and other adverse employment decisions made on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that grants temporary protection from deportation and legal work authorization to eligible immigrant youth/young adults who came to the United States when they were children. The program expires after two years and is subject to renewal. It was established in 2012 under the Obama administration. In 2010, over 840,000 calls, emails, and in-person support and over 81,000 petitions were delivered to the Senate. It is the representation of unity and activism led by the youth for one of the biggest wins for immigrant rights in recent history. As of December 2019, there were 650,000 active DACA recipients.

    The lawsuit(s) filed to the Supreme Court

    • In September 2017, The Trump administration announced that it was terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
    • Several lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration for terminating DACA unlawfully.
    • In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear three of the cases challenging the DACA termination: Regents of the University of California, Batalla Vidal, and NAACP
    • Yesterday, June 18, 2020, in a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program. Specifically, it claimed that the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and infringed the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

    For our undocumented and DACAmented community, we can't understand the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that has plagued you during this unprecedented time. Home is Here and YOU are Here to Stay.

    "Today's decision allows Dreamers to breathe a temporary sigh of relief," said Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr of Cornell Law School. "The administration may try to terminate the DACA program with a better justification, but that will take months or years. In the meantime, Congress should enact permanent relief for Dreamers to end this drama once and for all." Although this victory is historic and celebrated - there is work still needed to be done. The fight for justice is not over. In addition, having to cope with the 2017 Trump administration's decision to rescind, DACA recipients have had to experience extreme emotional trauma and labor. For the last few years, DREAMers have had to fight for their livelihood while trying to continue with school, work, and during a global pandemic. They have had to share and justify why they deserve to be here.

    We want to point out that DACA does NOT provide a path to citizenship. The Trump administration's attempted rescission of DACA has put pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation. This led to the American Dream & Promise Act of 2019. H.R. 6 which would provide a pathway for legal status to DREAMers and beneficiaries of two humanitarian programs: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) H.R. 6. (Passed House on June 4, 2019)

    As emerging social workers, in a variety of fields, it is our responsibility to fight alongside the communities we work with and against the injustices that threaten our core ethics of humanity.

    Action Steps for Allies/Social Work Community

    • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting LGBTQIA+ folx
    • Pronouns
    • Acknowledge the intersectionality of Black trans lives - protect folx while they are still here with us!
    • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting undocumented immigrants
      • Local to Michigan
        • SCOPE GoFund Me: The Student Community of Progressive Empowerment (SCOPE) at the University of Michigan is looking for your support in order to provide emergency financial resources to undocumented and DACA students at the University of Michigan who have been adversely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
        • Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)
        • Cosecha
        • Michigan Immigrants Rights Center (MIRC)
    • Check out the University of Michigan Undocumented Students website for information and resources for current and prospective undocumented and DACAmented students.
    • Shifting the language used by labeling people as illegal. Instead, use the term undocumented. An 'undocumented immigrant' refers to anyone residing in any given country without the country's required documentation.

    As Student Union, we celebrate alongside the communities who find comfort with the Supreme Court decisions and understand the fight continues for justice. We are here to support you.

    - Student Union

    • June 19, 2020
  10. Lauren White
    Lauren White, Joint PhD Student NIMH Funded to Support Youth Suicide Prevention

    The National Institute of Mental Health is funding Lauren White, Joint PhD student in Social Psychology and Social Work, to study a new suicide prevention model, Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide. The program is a health intervention designed, supported and implemented by remote communities in Northwest Alaska to decrease youth suicide. Professor Lisa Wexler is the principal investigator.

    • April 27, 2020

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