Do Black Men deserve the American dream?

Social justice is a driving force of the social work profession and at the heart of social welfare pioneers such as Jane Adams. Social justice addresses a myriad of societal issues related to equality, human rights, equity, and challenging power and privilege embedded in the status quo. It's found at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability. As an urban institution based in the heart of Detroit, we cannot turn a blind eye to the social justice atrocities that have commanded the attention of Americans and impacted our fellow Detroiters. As social justice advocates, we are working to embody our social justice ideals across our research, teaching, community outreach and practice activities to ensure all members of society are afforded equal rights, opportunities, protection and benefits. 

As the call to end racial inequity rang loud across the nation and world last summer, we organized a series of community discussions that highlighted the rich history of activism in social work and the Metro Detroit community. The response to these events was robust and positive. We selected to expand on these conversations with a three-part series focused on diversity, equity and inclusion:

  1. The first in this series, "Stepping Up for Social Justice Activism: How you can create change", was an online forum hosted on Thursday, October 22, 2020 highlighting the experience of local advocates working to advance social justice.
  2. The second in this series, "Show Me the Money: Why Financial Capability Matters for Social Workers and the Communities They Serve", will occur on Monday, January 25, 2021 and will discuss the principles of asset building and how knowledge of these principles will facilitate social work knowledge and practice.
  3. The third in this series, "Do Black Men deserve the American dream? The Impact of Gendered Deservingness on economic security for marginalized families", will occur on Thursday, March 25, 2021 and will discuss how Black men are affected by the social welfare system and the challenges that impede their ability to attain economic security.

Upcoming Event

It is important to examine system-level barriers to economic disparity and, more importantly, how systematic racism influences this instability. I am thrilled that Dr. Pate is bringing his wisdom on the subject to our Detroit community and look forward to this engaging community event. - Sheryl Kubiak, PhD, Dean and Professor

David Pate, JrThe Wayne State University School of Social Work and Office of Continuing Education are proud to host David J. Pate Jr., PhD as the keynote speaker in the third and final lecture of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. Pate will be presenting "Do Black Men deserve the American dream? The Impact of Gendered Deservingness on economic security for marginalized families" on Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 3 - 5 pm.

This talk will examine the historical and social phenomenon that produce economic instability and insecurity for Black men in the U.S. The intent is to illuminate current social policies and institutional practices that frustrate—and create virtually insurmountable barriers to—the industry and economic well-being of low-income Black men. The most notorious policy in this context is child support policy for very low-income, unemployed and never-married parents.  The race and gender focus of this analysis is essential to fully interrogate this policy and the men and families it impacts.

Pate is the Chair and Associate Professor of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, Department of Social Work and an Affiliated Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and University Honors College as well as an Affiliated Associate Professor at the Institute for Research on Poverty (UW-Madison). Pate studies how black men are affected by the social welfare system and the challenges that impede their ability to attain economic security. His research projects involve the use of qualitative research methods to examine life course events of African-American men and boys.

OPENING PERFORMANCE: The Spirit of Community scholarship is a memorial tribute for Lucile Myers, whose life resonated with a love of music and people. It provides financial assistance to clarinetists participating in programs of the Digital Clarinet Academy and includes a requirement for them to share their talents with others through educational and musical performances. The Wayne State University School of Social Work is proud to support the Spirit of Community scholarship recipients, Julianne Eidle and Emory Freeman, who will be opening the event with movements 1 and 3 (no piano) from Valarie Coleman's 'Portraits of Langston'. 

The early 1900's was a new era for African-Americans. For the first time in American history, the disciplines of visual art, music and literature simultaneously took a turn to celebrate African-American culture. As a result, the "Harlem Renaissance" was born. Langston Hughes was in the center of that cultural explosion, and like many African-American artists who lived in Harlem, Hughes had dreams of living in Europe - living a life unfettered from segregation. 'Portraits of Langston', is a suite in six short movements and is Valarie Coleman's take on Hughes' poetic memories of Harlem and Europe (mainly Paris). Learn more here.

Julianna Eidle smilingJulianna Eidle is an emerging soloist, orchestral player, chamber musician and educator. A dynamic musician, she explores the various ways music can connect people. Eidle has performed throughout North America and Europe. Julianna is an experienced performer in both traditional orchestral ensembles and diverse chamber settings. An advocate for new music, Eidle has premiered over 20 works for solo flute and ensemble. Eidle's performances have featured live and recorded electronics, projected video, as well as live staging and dance. As a recitalist, Eidle seeks to diversify the traditional cannon, championing underplayed and forgotten works. She passionately promotes the work of female composers and supports diverse leadership within the classical music community. Julianna began her Master of Music studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in fall 2019. She previously graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, receiving the Performer Diploma and Bachelor of Music degrees with scholarship from James J. Pellerite, the Friends of Music, and the Hutton Honors College among others. An active educator, Eidle is the Graduate Teaching Assistant (flute) at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has maintained a private teaching studio in Bloomington, Indiana and taught masterclasses in Indiana and Georgia. Eidle teaches the foundations to healthy playing, encouraging each student to express their unique voice. Eidle plays a silver Straubinger flute and a Brannen Lafin headjoint.

Emory Freeman smilingEmory Freeman is a passionate artist citizen that creates ways to inspire others to reach their fullest potential. His experiences as a musician and collaborator all have contributed to his unique artistic voice. Emory is an experienced performer in orchestral ensembles, wind ensembles, and in chamber music settings. Performing in small ensembles ranging from duos to double wind quintets, he is a versatile and enthusiastic collaborator. An advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the arts, Emory has served as the treasurer for the CCM Black Student Alliance and as an IDEA Committee member for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Emory has also attended SphinxConnect in Detroit, Michigan where he was able to connect with other diverse leaders in the artistic community. Emory began his Master of Music studies on full scholarship at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music in the Fall of 2019. He previously graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University receiving a Bachelor of Music Degree. Emory plays on Buffet Crampon R13s and Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces and ligatures.



Event details

Title: Do Black Men deserve the American dream? The Impact of Gendered Deservingness on economic security for marginalized families
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Audience: Open to all
Location: This virtual event will be held on Zoom. Space is limited and we request that attendees RSVP to obtain the Zoom link.

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Two Social Work CE's will be available as part of this event for a cost of $5. Pre-registration via the RSVP form is required. Those seeking to obtain the CE's must complete the following:

  • Log in to the event by the 3 pm start and attend the full event
  • Complete the sign-in form posted to the event Zoom chatbox (you must attend via the Zoom app or website - calling in via phone will not display the chatbox and sign-in form link)
  • Pass a short post-event quiz (link will be emailed after the event to those who sign-in)
  • Complete the $5 payment (link will be emailed after the event to those who sign-in) 

The CE certificate will be emailed within 10 business days. For questions regarding CE's contact or 313-577-9348. 

STUDENT ATTENDANCE TRACKING: Would you like to give your students extra credit for attending this event? We will track their attendance for you! Instructors need to simply email their class roster(s) via Excel to Liz Kennedy by January 20, 2021. Social Work students needing to verify their attendance for extra credit must complete the following and verification will then be sent to your instructor after the event:

  • Log in to the event by the 3 pm start and attend the full event
  • Complete the sign-in form posted to the event Zoom chatbox

For questions regarding student attendance tracking contact Liz Kennedy at or 313-577-4400.

ACCOMMODATIONS: This event will be taped and posted to our WSU Social Work YouTube channel. Closed captions and alternate language subtitles, such as Spanish, will be available to viewers via YouTube. To request additional accommodations please contact Betsy Vanderstelt at or 313-577-4464.


For additional information on the event and upcoming events in the Series visit the WSU Event Calendar or contact Betsy Vanderstelt at