ACOSA response to Ferguson (My mom would approve!)

Below is ACOSA’s statement on recent events is Ferguson, Missouri.  Thanks to my colleague Monica for sharing this and asking my to post on my blog.  What organizations do you belong to and how are they responding to Ferguson and other national and international events?  “ACOSA, the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration. ACOSA is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, students and educators. ACOSA will keep you informed of the latest innovations in community and administrative practice as well as provide you with a variety of opportunities for networking and professional advancement” ( The statement is best viewed by visiting the website, as my blog formatting is a bit whacky…


The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) Statement
in Response to Recent Events in Ferguson, Missouri
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” – John F. Kennedy
In times of systemic injustice, social workers have historically chosen action over inaction. The recent
death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the national conversation it stimulated has highlighted the
extent to which institutional racism still exists in the United States. Our longstanding ethical commitment
to social justice requires social workers, regardless of their primary method or field of practice, to take
action to address the multiple manifestations of institutional racism. ACOSA calls on all social work
professional organizations, social work schools, and individual social workers to make their voices
heard, locally in their communities and organizations, and in the state and national policy arenas. Here
are some tangible steps all social workers can take to create a more equitable, safe, and just society.
We urge you to join with us in taking action.
Professional Social Work Organizations:
● Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of
Social Work, & Society for Social Work Research should hold special forums or symposia at
their annual meetings to discuss the social work response to the issue of institutional racism.
● The editors of the Journal of Social Work Education, Social Work, and the Journal of
Baccalaureate Social Work should publish a special issue dedicated to this topic.
● The newsletters of all professional organizations should feature a regular column in which people
can submit ideas for a social work response.
Schools of Social Work:
● We encourage all schools of social work to organize a series of events that involve faculty,
students, and community members to discuss the implications of what happened in Ferguson for
their communities and to formulate policy solutions at the local, state, and national levels
● We encourage all faculty members to facilitate conversations regarding the events in Ferguson
and their implications for the people and communities with whom social workers work. These
conversations can add context to the larger systemic issues, especially when linked to the deaths
of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. Discussing the impact racism in such diverse areas as
criminal and juvenile justice, education, employment, health care, and housing is key to
advancing social justice.
● We encourage schools of social work to provide faculty development opportunities to assist
faculty members facilitate difficult conversations about race, racism, and injustice in a safe
classroom environment and among their colleagues. This enables faculty to make the
connections between institutional forces and their manifestations in the lives of our clients and
● We encourage schools of social work to highlight the work of faculty doing research with
implications in this area. Schools can provide development opportunities for faculty to translate
their research into forums that could heighten public awareness of these issues and influence
policymakers. Examples include the development of a speakers bureau for media and
community consultation when need arises, training in the use of social media, the submission of
essays, and testimony before legislative bodies.
Individual social workers:
● Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers and speak to your local and federal officials
about your concerns.
● Lead a discussion of these issues in your local church, synagogue, temple, discussion group,
book club.
● Discuss the issue with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors. Do not be silent.
● Meet with members of law enforcement in your community. Discuss your concerns and hear
theirs. Using your social work skills, facilitate discussions with community leaders
● Vote. Make lawmakers know that you vote and for what reasons.
● Organize. With members of the community most directly affected by institutional racism,
identify issues for action and take action to change conditions.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin
Luther King, Jr.

P.S. My mom would approve


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