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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.

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