At the core of social work is the commitment to social justice and transformation in all micro, mezzo, and macro practice settings. This includes social work education, where academic excellence in not solely measured in scholarly outcomes, but also in students' preparedness to be critically engaged change agents. To that end, critical inquiry and critical consciousness are the foundations of a democratic education that reflect the contemporary sociopolitical culture. In the spirit of solidarity, shared humanity, and concern for antiracist communities - both national and global - the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Social Work faculty celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to our mission and affirm solidarity with those individuals and groups most socially vulnerable. In line with our departmental goals, we actively disavow all racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, ageism, classism, ableism, and hate speech or actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and marginalize.
As social work educators, we affirm that language and texts, films and stories help us to understand the experiences of others whose lives are different from ours. The goal of inclusiveness, in a diverse community, encourages and appreciates expressions of different ideas, opinions, and beliefs, so that conversations and interactions that could potentially be divisive turn instead into opportunities for intellectual and personal enrichment. We value critical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, self-reflection, and the imagination. Building on these capacities, we hope to inspire empathy, social and environmental justice, and an ethical framework for our actions. A dedication to inclusiveness requires respecting what others say, their right to say it, and the thoughtful consideration of others' communication. Both speaking up and listening are valuable tools for furthering thoughtful, enlightening dialogue. Respecting one another's individual differences is critical in transforming a collection of diverse individuals into an inclusive, collaborative and excellent learning community. Our core commitment shapes our core expectation for behavior inside and outside of the classroom.
We in the Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire are grateful for the NYC NASW chapter for making a strong statement against Xenophobia and Sinophobia. We share this statement below in our effort to stand with our Asian American colleagues, friends, family, staff, and students.
From: NASW-NYC Statement on Xenophobia and Sinophobia Surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.naswnyc.org/resource/resmgr/statements_and_important_news/2020/COVID-19_Xenophobia.pdf
- “These uncertain times can create the exchange of misinformation rooted in fear, stigma, and scapegoating. From microaggressions to hate crimes, [The UNH Department of Social Work] recognizes and strongly condemns these acts of violence and spreading of false rhetoric towards our friends, family, colleagues and loved ones of Asian descent” We are dispirited by the current narrative carried out by the media and individuals against those of Asian descent in relation to this very serious disease, particularly when it furthers xenophobic and oppressive agendas under the guise of public health and safety concern
- As Margaret Chin, who is a member of the New York City Council, stated, “discrimination against any particular group is unjustifiable” and “facts are our best defense”; and as NBC News noted in a recent article, “Jewish communities were targeted during the bubonic plague in the 1300s. Irish immigrants were blamed for typhoid in the 1800s, Haitian Americans were thought to be responsible for HIV in 1980s, Mexican Americans for swine flu in 2009, and West Africans for Ebola in 2014.” Attributing outbreaks to marginalized groups has historically been the pattern but now is the time to challenge conformity and be the exception”
The Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire strongly supports this statement and we ask that everyone within the UNH community and beyond, call out this false and misleading rhetoric and stand in support of our Asian and Asian American community members.
The Committee on Ethnicity, Race and Gender Equity (CERGE) and the Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire