An Accepting and Supportive Warrior Community for All: Students establish Social Work Queer Alliance
The Wayne State University School of Social Work is proud to announce the launch of the Social Work Queer Alliance (SWQA), a new student organization working to create an accepting and supportive warrior community for all through advocacy, education and support.
According to a 2019 Association of American Universities (AAU) climate survey that explored sexual assault and sexual misconduct in higher education across the U.S., non-heterosexual students are more likely to experience harassing behavior, intimate partner violence and stalking than heterosexual students. Founded by SWQA President and BSW student Kristen Prasiloski, and SWQA Vice-President and MSW student Tina Zerilli, the SWQA seeks to address the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and more) student warrior community through a collaborative-based approach in which all people can advocate, learn and support one another on an individual, group and community level.
I helped create the Social Work Queer Alliance after hearing that many of my fellow WSU students felt as I did - we had a lack of support in our lives when it came to our gender and sexuality. My goal with the SWQA is to create a community that is accepting and works to increase awareness and educate the WSU student body! -Kristen Prasiloski, SWQA President
With the support of the Social Work Student Alliance, a coordinating body for Social Work student organizations, the SWQA has already begun to tackle their immediate goals of recruiting new members (Queer and Allies), coordinating a biweekly meeting schedule of Wednesday's at 6:30 pm and establishing the structure of the Queer Peer-To-Peer Support Group which will be launching this fall.
The 2021-22 academic year will offer a myriad of ways for the warrior community to get involved in the SWQA, including educational seminars and trainings, volunteer experiences with local partner LGBTQIA+ organizations, resource sharing, and advocacy and fundraising opportunities.
The Social Work Queer Alliance aims to advocate for LGBTQIA+ individuals as well as being a safe space for those who are struggling by providing support, resources, and educational opportunities. - Tina Zerilli, SWQA Vice President
The 2015 AAU climate survey highlighted the unique experience of LGBTQIA+ college students of color, with 31 percent reporting that they had experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, or hostile conduct that they attributed to their racial identity. In an effort to increase community understanding of the intersection of the Black and Queer experience, the SWQA has partnered with the Association of Black Social Workers student organization to host its inaugural event "Crossroads of Solidarity: A Conversation on Intersectionality Centering the Black and Queer Experience" on July 15, 2021. Held virtually on Zoom at 6 pm, this community conversation will be led by students but is open to all. The event will shine a light on the activists and ancestors that paved the road to the privileges and rights we have today. Attendees will also discuss modern advocacy efforts and ways in which they can support these communities. Attendees will receive the Zoom link upon completion of the RSVP.
Those interested in joining the SWQA or learning more can contact Kristen Prasiloski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Christina Zerilli (email@example.com). Learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community on campus at the WSU Pride website.