Association of Black Social Workers highlights social justice, activism, and advocacy

Although its Facebook page describes the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) as “a Black-led student organization that leads special events and projects,” the ABSW is much more than that.

Geoffrey R. Jones, a Wayne State University School of Social Work academic services officer, has been their student organization advisor since 2019.

“The ABSW aims to create a sacred space for social justice, activism, and advocacy within the social work community,” noted Jones.

“I find the group’s collaborative and collective efforts are most rewarding. We work together well on projects and events, and by helping each other. Our goals are to continue to support the community, amongst the group, and wherever needed,” Jones said.

Some of the events they’ve sponsored include “Elevate Their Voices,” held each February during Black History Month covering topics including mental health and wellness in communities of color, and the role of social work in Black liberation. “This event highlights a specific topic affecting the African American population in some way, positive or negative. All can benefit from attending, and it is open to everyone.”

2020 Elevate Their Voice event attendees
Attendees at the 2020 Elevate Their Voices event 'The Role of Social Work in Black Liberation'

Other past events include holiday toy drives, networking events for students, and “Lunch with a Warm Embrace,” where the group passed out bag lunches along with hats, gloves, socks, and scarves to Detroiters in need.

“We’ve also volunteered at a soup kitchen and partnered with other student organizations such as the Social Work Queer Alliance in support of mental health awareness in the LGBTQ+ community,” Jones noted.

Jones said there’s always a demand for more Black social workers.

“People want to see themselves, know someone has an idea of their lived experience or understanding of their culture/mores/values, or just to identify with,” he said. "ABSW is working to create innovative ways to support the next generation of Black social workers and meet the needs of our diverse clientele."

For more information about ABSW visit their Instagram page or to join, visit Get Involved.

Author: Laura Hipshire

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