BC Social Work Announces 2015-2016 Diversity + Justice Speakers

DIVERSITY-Justice eventBANNERFor the second straight academic year, the Boston College School of Social Work’s diversity focus is on ‘Race and Justice.’ Over the course of 2015-2016, BCSSW will convene a series of opportunities addressing this issue for faculty, staff, students and alumni. Diversity events will include: a speaker series, trainings, retreats, and discussion groups.

“Frankly, the reality is, these issues don’t go away in a year,” explains Professor Ruth McRoy, Chair of the BC Social Work Diversity and Justice Committee, with regards to the school’s decision to extend the diversity theme. “We recognize the importance of placing an ongoing focus on issues of race and justice in our country, especially amidst what seems like weekly reports in the news on race-based violence and conflict. Over the course of the year, we seek to discuss the roles that social workers can play to address oppression, inequity, and violence based in racism, so that moving forward, we can get to the stage of being more transformative in our work. This journey to effect positive change is not a one-year event, but will take place over the course of each of our lifetimes.”

BC Social Work is proud to announce the first three (of five) speakers who will lead this conversation around address race + justice in events on campus during this academic year.

pastorgrooverRev. Dr. Gregory Groover, Pastor, Charles Street AME Church

October 30, 2015 3-5 pm

This event, featuring one of the pillars of the African American community in Boston, will engage all students, faculty, and staff in a conversation around some of the recent events that have challenged our perceptions of race in America, especially the shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Rev. Dr. Groover has a particularly distinct perspective to offer to the conversation around violence and race in America, and what we can do as social workers to address this reality,” says McRoy. “He knew two of the people who were killed at Emanuel AME, has experience pastoring an AME church here in Boston, and he’s utilized his wisdom and experience as a minister in his work with a host of non-profits in the Boston community and beyond.”

michael_omiAssociate Professor Michael Omi, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley

November 9, 2015 5-6:30 pm 

Omi will speak on the third edition of his groundbreaking book Racial Formation in the United StatesFirst published in 1986, but substantially revised and re-released this year, the book provides a transformative venue for discussing the social construction and politics of race. During this event, Omi will discuss what’s “new” in the new edition, consider contemporary events through the lens of racial formation theory, and reflect on future trends in racial theory.

“Professor Omi is uniquely qualified to help us, as a community, identify some of the barriers to building a more inclusive society,” explains McRoy. “I’m looking forward to a lively dialogue, and to Professor Omi challenging us, as both faculty and students, to think of ways in which we can more effectively produce change.” 

Gross,+WilliamWilliam Gross, Superintendent in Chief of the Boston Police Department

January 8, 2016, time TBA

Gross, who is Boston PD’s highest ranking officer reporting directly to Commissioner William Evans, will be the keynote for this year’s Diversity and Justice Conference, an annual event held at BC devoted to an exploration of the intersections of diversity and social work practice, and to a better understanding of the people and communities we are privileged to serve. (Last year’s speaker was CSWE keynote John H. Jackson). Gross is the first ever African American to hold the position of Boston PD’s Superintendent in Chief.

It should serve as no mystery as to why Chief Gross was invited to present this critically important address. “As the nation turns its attention, more and more, to issues of police brutality, it’s essential that we begin to involve social workers in the conversation around how to prevent these instances of violence, and to find more just alternatives moving forward,” says McRoy.

Other race + justice speakers will be announced in the near future: 

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