“I have lots of challenges around my experience with law enforcement,” says Clinical Assistant Professor Daicia Price. “I have been incarcerated myself, and my son has been incarcerated for crimes he did not commit. With all that is going on now, I was trying to figure out how to make a difference.” Price decided to become trained in connecting law enforcement and mental health.
With the challenges that communities of color, in particular, have faced regarding policing and use of force, there have in fact been several calls to increase mental health training of law enforcement. Price has partnered with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to provide Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for interested law enforcement agencies. Just this week as a CIT trainer, she has trained officers from Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Wayne County Jail, Detroit Police Department, Canton Police Department and Northville Police Department in ways to intervene using trauma-informed policing.
“We use role plays and scenarios to teach police officers different ways of engaging with people,” says Price. “We connect them with other social service providers and clinicians — connections they never had before. We listen to their challenges. For example, police are frustrated when people ask them to address situations for which they are unprepared, such as mental health. To hear their desire to help but not knowing what to do is powerful for me. The general public has no idea there are officers trained in critical interventions and to connect with social services to access care. This is so critical right now.”
Between the pandemic and the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s brutal death, social workers have been called to action. We checked in with a number of students, alumni and community members to hear how they are putting their training into action these last several months. Read the stories of social work in action.
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.
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
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.
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.
PhD student Change Kwesele recently published “‘It’s Not a Quick Fix.’ Notes for the ‘good’ white people: Insights on conversations about race at work” on Medium. Kwesele breaks down why the choice of words matters. “White people must be mindful of how certain ‘polite’ words and conversations have been used to harm Black people.”
Dear Michigan Social Work Community,
Today, we name Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch. We grieve with their families and with too many other families facing similar loss. We endorse the further investigations of their deaths which are overseen by the FBI and the state of California. At the same time, we know that many in our SSW community feel tired, scared and outraged about these deaths in the midst of so many others in our nation. The number of deaths and frequency of violence towards Black men and women make some worry about the potential futility of efforts to stand up against white supremacy and anti-racism. We cannot be discouraged. We call on everyone, and especially our white social work colleagues, not to close our eyes and look away. Being anti-racist is an active state of being. We must continue to work towards all that is just.
In solidarity (in word and action),
Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work Abigail Eiler was appointed to the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition. The coalition will encourage, educate and empower student-athletes and will develop tangible and actionable efforts in a collective manner and provide viable solutions addressing the issues of hate and racism in our society.
The University of Michigan School of Social Work stands for health equity and equal human rights for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Over the weekend the federal government reversed an important Obama administration ruling that provided access and nondiscrimination in insurance coverage for transgender and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people in the United States. This impacts transgender individuals the most, and even more so, transgender people of color.
Assistant Professor Shanna Kattari, eloquently summarizes what each and every social worker can do to stand up for equal justice in their practice and in their advocacy. As social workers, join us in standing up now for equal rights and health services for transgender people of all races.
If you are eligible, be sure to cast your vote in the primary (August) and general (November) elections. Voting influences public policy!
In light of COVID-19, and ongoing protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Professor and Associate Dean of Research Rogério M. Pinto spoke to MLive about both the timing and the power of this moment of unrest. “Protests can be a powerful strategy to enact change, and already the movement has scored some results. That includes having criminal charges filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death and upgrading of charges from third- to second-degree homicide for the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. “The simple fact they’ve been charged already is a phenomenal result.”
"We must move past indecision to action...If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Dear Social Work Community,
In the past few days, as we listened the news we felt appalled at the at the knee-choke-hold that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, while the nation was still reeling from the brazen murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and the killings of Breonna Taylor and Sean Reed. And all of this in the midst of the racial disparities of the COVID pandemic, in which Black and Latino Americans are killed disproportionately due to effects of underlying social inequality in income, in nutrition and in health care.
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, Sidney Arrington, MSW student, raised concerns clearly, painfully and with an acknowledgement that our social work community can and should do more. Her courageous efforts inspired students, faculty and staff. We apologize to Sidney that it was she and not us who spoke first.
We admire the collective spirit of our community that compels and validates the importance of action, leadership and solutions. We are grateful for the supportive responses and the calls for action.
We are working diligently on the School's call to action. These include:
Yes, we have been an academically remote program for several months. However, offering classes remotely is not a justification for emotional insensitivity or a lack of action. Not now. Not ever. Our School, the University of Michigan School of Social Work, must take a strong stance protesting these unjust deaths.
We encourage our community — students, staff, alumni and faculty — to provide suggestions for actions we should take now and in the future. We call on the leadership group of students, faculty and staff to construct a clear and visible strategy to be responsive and sensitive. We will work to activate every member of our community to take a stand against the structures that perpetuate and tolerate killings of Black Americans. And Asian Americans. And Latinx Americans.
This is our work as social workers. Students, thank you for calling us to action.
Lynn Videka, Dean
Tim Colenback, Assistant Dean for Student Services
Larry M. Gant, Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez, Associate Dean for Educational Programs
Professor Karla Goldman’s article in Forward discusses how the economic disruptions of the coronavirus add to the woes that have been threatening the viability of the historic institutions and programs that support Reform Judaism.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106