Sharpening our focus: Social Work establishes Committee on Antiracism, Diversity, and Social Justice
The rise of violent racist acts throughout the country, including the recent killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Michigan police officer, has sparked new conversations in the social work community and reflection on what occurs in our own backyard. In an effort to sharpen the Wayne State University School of Social Work’s mission to advance social justice and create an equitable and open community, the School has established the Committee on Antiracism, Diversity, and Social Justice (CADS).
Charged with the facilitation of transforming the School into a brave space of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), CADS is developing programming, reviewing policies, and disseminating information that promotes equity.
Rooted in Restorative Justice, the practice of emphasizing the repair of harm done to individuals and relationships, rather than focusing solely on punishing offenders in the criminal justice system, Restorative Practice is an emerging tool being utilized in schools and institutions across the nation. Restorative Practice aims to restore relationships and repair harm, while strengthening communities and individual behaviors. “Restorative Practice creates a mechanism for individuals who perceive harm related to equity to be heard and heal. This framework will not only improve our faculty and staff ecosystem, but also be used within the classrooms,” noted CADS Co-chair and Assistant Professor Megan Hicks, PhD.
CADS’s primary focus for the 2022-23 academic year is to the build skills within the School to enable the use of a Restorative Practices framework. This will be accomplished with formal training for faculty and staff on Restorative Practices and through the School’s twice-annual Curriculum and Instruction events. Additional speakers, town halls, information sharing, and conversations will occur throughout the year.
“We want to ensure the use of Restorative Practices is not just a band-aid to a larger issue, so ARC is also addressing systems level change through the review and revisions of policies and procedures within the School as well,” stated CADS Co-Chair and Center for Social Work Research Assistant Director Neva Nahan.
In July 2022, CADS launched a one-stop-shop new website for all things DEI within the School. In addition to serving as a central hub of information about racism, diversity, and social justice, the site provides resources to faculty, staff, and students that they can incorporate into their work.
Author: Betsy Vanderstelt, email@example.com