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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The School’s Commitment to Racial Justice Statement:
The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is dedicated to eliminating racial injustice and promoting an ongoing process of healing and reconciliation to dismantle racism. This commitment is rooted in the belief that all members of our community are valued and needed to further the human rights and social justice mission of the school and the social work and nursing professions.

We acknowledge that racism is consciously and unconsciously prevalent and persistent. Recent events around the country have compelled us to examine the reality of the multifaceted nature of racism. From the history of slavery, Jim Crow and lynching to the current realities of anti-immigration violence, racially discriminatory state actions, unequal access to services, mass incarceration and police brutality, we continue to be reminded that the fight for racial justice is far from over.

Social work and nursing have a long-standing tradition of upholding and improving diversity, equity and inclusion. Those who practice in the human services arena are obligated to speak out against all forms of racism and inequality, including institutional racism with in our communities and government.

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Read more of our Racial Justice Statement

Social work has a longstanding value of upholding and working toward human rights. Social workers and leaders of human services organizations are obligated to speak out against all forms of racism and address structural racism in our communities and the inequitable and racialized outcomes it produces.

As social workers, social work educators, and researchers, we have the professional responsibility to remember that along with the privilege of being at USC comes the responsibility to be civil, respectful, decent, and fair to all people. The violence against, bias toward, and inequitable treatment of people of color, particularly against African-American males, will not be tolerated.

To that end, we will work as a community to address these ongoing issues. We will ensure that all stakeholders in our school know and are prepared to fulfill their responsibility to counter the voices advocating racist views and moral inadequacies based on race.

We recognize that our profession is made up of diverse individuals with different perspectives on racism. Our varying experiences with and participation in systems of power and privilege make ongoing conversations about race, structural and systemic racism, and oppression complex and challenging. As such, we commit to advocate for policies and practices that provide solutions to dismantling oppressive and discriminating systems and develop new research related to racial justice, social work innovation, and anti-oppressive policies.

We will continue to create and foster a culturally diverse environment that strives to be free of discrimination, bigotry, and hate speech. We will also ensure that racial justice is addressed in all courses and that our curriculum presents culturally relevant and responsive perspectives. We see diversity and inclusion as a means to improve and strengthen a broad range of social, political, economic, and health outcomes and will inspire our students to do the same.

The USC School of Social Work will speak out and challenge narratives and actions that run counter to our human rights mission. We are devoted to having candid, experiential, and substantive discussion on systemic and structural racism to evolve our thinking and commitment to developing strategies for community empowerment, collective support, and social change.

Submitted by the Working Group:

Renee Smith-Maddox, clinical associate professor
Rafael Angulo, clinical professor of field education
Tory Cox, clinical associate professor of field education
Terence Fitzgerald, clinical assistant professor
Charles Kaplan, research professor

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Library Resource Tools

Understanding Race
Race
A Girl Like Me - video
Shopping while black - video
Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation - video

Economic Justice
Income Inequality: It’s Also Bad for Your Health
Wealth creators' are robbing our most productive people

Sexual and Gender Identity
APA Guidelines for working with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals

Resources for Self-Reflections
Project Implicit
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources for Students

Strategies for Talking about Race & Racism in the Classroom
To facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism, there are some essential prerequisites to consider:

First, recognize that you play a critical role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and manifestations of social inequality and discrimination.

Second, be reflective of your own racial, ethnic, cultural and unconscious biases. Your experience with diversity, racism, privilege and people of color influence your ability to have these conversations.

Third, acknowledge the challenges to changing your frame of reference about race and racism. Learning how to talk about topics such as white privilege, systems of oppression, racism, police violence and mass incarceration takes practice and courage, regardless of how long you have been teaching.

Finally, be willing to adapt instructional practices, classroom management, and motivational techniques.

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Classroom Strategies
  1. Clarify the meaning of race and racism.
  2. Acknowledge the fear of offending, discomfort and risk of talking about race. Create a safe space that sets the stage for respectful and honest conversation that is civil and where everyone can voice their views. Focus on the desired outcome of the conversation as well as the process of engaging students in the dialogue.
  3. Use stories and metaphors as examples that people can connect with. People ignore data that does not fit their perceptions, but stories are compelling. Telling stories is also an effective way to teach, persuade and even understand ourselves.
  4. Talk about structures, policies, practices and norms. Focus on the context in which racial conflict and racism occurs and address the impact it has. People are more likely to engage in a dialogue about institutional racism when there are no accusations or blame directed at them.
  5. Focus on shared values such as equality, security, liberty, dignity and respect for others as articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics.
  6. Talk about solutions as well as the problems so that people feel there is a way to make a difference and do not feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem.
  7. Frame (or reframe) issues to identify what the problem is about and how it can be addressed. Successful framing puts you in a favorable position to direct the discussion and improves the chances of a successful solution.
  8. Explore explanations for the disparities. Differences are not always "bad" or “negative.” Help students examine the basis of observed differences.
  9. Address blatant racist assertions and give your students and yourself an opportunity to process what was said.
  10. Use reflective writing assignments to launch discussion and make sure everyone in the classroom shares their perspective and rationale.
  11. Draw from a wide array of materials (i.e., readings, videos, audio clips, images/symbols) to help you deal with what is uncomfortable and unfamiliar in the conversation.

The Role of Resonance in Conversations about Race & Racism

What is resonance? When someone courageously shares, they need to know that you have heard them and support them. Often we just need to be listened to with empathy. We do not necessarily need advice or for someone to solve the problem. So we resonate to provide that support to each other. Here’s how to resonate:

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Support Questions for RESONATING
  • What did you appreciate about what was shared?
  • What parts moved you?
  • What strengths did you hear?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What do you relate to what has been shared?

Next, offer appreciation for what was shared:

  • Do not offer advice or ask questions.
  • Just appreciate what was shared.
  • Be respectful.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Stay focused on the person who is sharing.
  • If you have a strong response to someone’s story because you relate to it, that’s great! You can share what you are feeling, but be careful not to launch into your own story and lose the connection with the person. You will be able to share your story next, after that person’s resonance time is over.

Diversity and Inclusion Standards for Social Work Courses

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Diversity Websites

Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

API Equality
Dedicated to working in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in California and nationally for equal marriage rights, fair treatment and overall acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality
Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality is the first and only Sacramento-based legislative and budget advocacy project dedicated to developing and advancing a progressive social justice agenda on behalf of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities. AACRE fights for reformative legislation and expansion of funding, while seeking to empower APIAs to be an active and effective force in advancing civil rights and social justice.

Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
ACU is a nonprofit, transdisciplinary organization of clinicians, advocates and health care organizations united in a common mission to improve the health of America's underserved populations and to enhance the development and support of the health care clinicians serving these populations.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
For three decades, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has been the nation's leading legal advocate for people with mental disabilities. Our precedent-setting litigation has outlawed institutional abuse and won protections against arbitrary confinement. In the courts and in Congress, our advocacy has opened up public schools, workplaces, housing and other opportunities for people with mental disabilities to participate in community life.

Black Youth Project
This project will examine the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health and politics.

California Endowment
The California Endowment's mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians.

Census Bureau
Facts from the U.S. Census Bureau on Hispanic, African- American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, American Indian and Native Alaskan populations.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. To accomplish its mission, CDC identifies and defines preventable health problems.

Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

Center on Race & Social Problems (University of Pittsburgh)
The mission of the center is to conduct applied social science research on race, color and ethnicity and their influence on the quality of life for all Americans.

Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health (Duke University)
The center focuses on conducting interdisciplinary research, scholarship and education on spirituality, theology and health. Exploring the role of faith communities in forming the health of the broader community. Integrating research and scholarship into the practical disciplines of care and service with an emphasis on older adults.

Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (University of Chicago)
The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to promoting engaged scholarship and debate around the topics of race and ethnicity.

Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (Vanderbilt University)
The Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) was established in 2003 by the University to develop, promote and increase faculty research at the intersections of religion and culture.

The Civil Rights Project (UCLA)
The mission of the Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles is to help renew the civil rights movement by bridging the worlds of ideas and action, to be a preeminent source of intellectual capital within that movement, and to deepen the understanding of the issues that must be resolved to achieve racial and ethnic equity as society moves through the great transformation of the 21st century.

Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (USC)
Our mission at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement is to promote dialogue, understanding and grassroots, congregational and academic partnerships among the oldest and the newest of the Abrahamic faiths while generating a contemporary understanding in this understudied area and creating new tools for interfaith communities locally, nationally and beyond.

Cross-Cultural Health Care Program
Primarily a training and consulting organization, the Cross-Cultural Health Care Program endeavors to enhance the abilities of health professionals to provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care.

Diversity Rx
Diversity Rx works towards promoting language and cultural competence to improve the quality of health care for minority, immigrant and ethnically diverse communities.

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Human Rights Watch researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world. Human Rights Watch then publishes those findings in dozens of books and reports every year, generating extensive coverage in local and international media.

Kaiser Family Foundation
Statehealthfacts.org is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states. The data are based on an analysis of the Census Bureau's March 2009 and 2010 Current Population Surveys (CPS; Annual Social and Economic Supplements) and are restricted to the civilian (not active duty military) population. The state data represent 2-year averages.

LAMBDA Legal
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

LGBT Religious Archives Network
The LGBT Religious Archives Network (LGBT-RAN) is an innovative venture in preserving history and encouraging scholarly study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) religious movements around the world.

National Council of La Raza
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

UCLA Center on Minority Health Disparities
The mission of the UCLA Center for Research, Education, Training, and Strategic Communication on Minority Health Disparities (CRETSCMHD) is the reduction and elimination of physical and mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority populations.

Urban and Environmental Policy Institute (Occidental College)
Our mission – to help create a more just, livable and democratic region – provides the backdrop for a wide range of activities and relationships. UEPI functions both as an academic center with strong community ties and a community-based organization with a strong research and policy development capacity.

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health
The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.

The Women's Foundation of California
The Women's Foundation of California is the only statewide public foundation that is investing in women and girls throughout California to create a more just and equitable society.

World Health Organization
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.