Wayne State Association of Black Social Workers win international student activism competition

The Wayne State Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) student organization has been named joint first-place winner of the 2018 Social Work Student Activism competition of Social Work Education: The International Journal. The journal announced the competition winners on its website on March 20th to commemorate World Social Work Day.

ABSW was nominated for “Elevate Their Voices,” a 2017 forum it organized on Wayne State’s campus during which civic leaders and community organizers gathered to discuss social justice issues implicit in the widespread water shutoff throughout Detroit. The group, which tied for first place with students from Saxion University of Applied Science in The Netherlands for their work on an education program about human rights, submitted a video to the journal describing the project that can be viewed here.

Journal Deputy Editor Helen Sholar told ABSW the judges “were impressed by the efforts made by the students to engage with their local community, and to use their macro social work training to address the problem of water insecurity in Detroit as a human rights and social justice issue. The video illustrates how students have come to understand the role of social work at a policy level, and the part that social workers can play in raising awareness and promoting action for change.”

Social Work academic advisor Tamarie Willis, who serves as faculty advisor to ABSW, said she is “beyond proud of the work these amazing and dedicated students have done.”

“They have sacrificed what little free time they have after work, school, and family to elevate many of the issues affecting the city of Detroit among our student body,” said Willis, noting that their work on water insecurity has already garnered accolades from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA). “To be recognized nationally by CSWE and ACOSA was amazing; to be recognized globally by an international social work journal is another level.”

ABSW members (above, from left to right): Jazmine McBride, Secretary/Treasurer Asia Alexander, Vice President Ishmail Walton, Faculty Advisor Tamarie Willis, President Michanda Gant, and Zenobia Kindle-Davis.

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150 years in the heart of Detroit