Understanding Foundational Principles of Urban Social Work When Engaging African-American Families
Presenter: Dr. W. Henry Gregory *This session will be streamed live
Since the founding of this country and the import of enslaved Africans into America, the history of racism has continued to permeate every aspect of U.S. society including child protective services, juvenile justice, and educational systems. In practicing with African Americans in urban communities, this reality must always be at the forefront of the urban social worker’s thoughts, together with well-developed methods of assessment and interventions to address the presenting needs of these communities. Engagement with African Americans within an urban context by necessity includes the environmental context; history; experiences of structural oppression; classism; internalized oppression, as well as strengths and resilience. This workshop is designed to help the participant learn the following 6 objectives: How Eurocenric values, worldviews, traditions, development and dissemination of knowledge, and practice interventions do not reflect the history and life experiences of people of African descent, and therefore are largely ineffective as currently practiced within the broad arena of professional social work; The nature of oppression and discrimination and how it impacts African Americans both individually and institutionally, and strategies for addressing these; How macro versus clinical or micro practice is essential to honoring the totality of African descent clients’ experiences in the United States; How an African-centered perspective enables the urban social worker to draw on a number of approaches for working with African American individuals, families, and communities while promoting cultural competence, advocacy and empowerment, communalism, language, and oral tradition and self-awareness.; How urban social workers can work to eliminate the systemic barriers that have been created, which oppress, control, and disempower vulnerable citizens of African descent; and How urban social workers must be knowledgeable about the role they may play in exercising their own white privilege and be committed to giving up those privileges in order to attain the goal of social justice.