Academic journal article Field Educator

From the Editor, April 2015: "If Not You, Then Who?"

Academic journal article Field Educator

From the Editor, April 2015: "If Not You, Then Who?"

Article excerpt

Another unarmed Black man murdered by police. Shot eight times in the back. His name was Walter Scott. Sickened by this news, I sat down to write. But the words didn't come. Instead, it was that feeling of sickness that prevailed, along with the haunting question, "Who am I to address this?" I posed the question directly to my colleague, Professor Gary Bailey. His response was simply, "If not you, then who?"

I understand, and I agree. Racism was born of White people, and has been perpetuated (and denied) largely by White people. But the tendrils of racism are so vast, the wounds so deep, and the structures that protect it so embedded, that feelings of hopelessness persist. And then there is the burst of shame that I would spend even a moment with my hopelessness.

So, what is to be done? How can our voices be lifted in a way that makes a difference? And what does this have to do with social work field education? These are some of the questions addressed in this issue's Conversation between Gary Bailey, Professor of Practice at the Simmons School of Social Work, and Cynthia Williams, Assistant Dean for Field Education and Community Partnerships at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, Missouri. Their discussion focuses on the response of a social work community near Ferguson, Missouri to the killing of Michael Brown. In Students Speak , Justin Marotta, a foundation year student at Simmons, offers a student's perspective on the topic, and describes the response of his peers at Simmons.

In the Conversation , Cynthia Williams notes students' need for a "roadmap." Ideally, it is this very "roadmap" that classroom and field create together. At a time when our country is again at a breaking point on issues of race, students have ripe opportunity, in the words of Gary Bailey, "to step into the arena and have conversations with themselves and each other about White supremacy and the issues of race in America. …

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