November 22, 2021
Dear School of Social Welfare Community,
At this point, we have all learned about and seen media coverage of the unjust outcome in the Rittenhouse case. The outcomes of this case and all of its embedded structural inequities defy the values of our profession, and our commitment to social justice, equity, and human rights. We are thinking about the families and friends of the people Rittenhouse killed, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and all people who are impacted daily by cruel and senseless acts of violence due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, culture, or any other aspect of their identities. As a social work community, it is essential for us to acknowledge, reflect, grieve, mobilize, and respond to these events, and work together towards change. And now, as the closing arguments are being made in the case of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan, who on February 23, 2020 senselessly killed Ahmaud Arbery, we await that verdict and hope that unlike in the instance of the Rittenhouse trial, justice is actually served. As we await, the School of Social Welfare community, in its commitment to building a more just and equitable society, stands in solidarity with all those who are protesting against racial injustice. We are also specifically mindful of members of our collective community who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Color and all others of minoritized social identities. I encourage us to come together and stand in unity, and provide the kinds of strength and support that comes from our sense of collectivism. As change agents we are better when we come together. I invite you all to take care of yourselves and each other, and in taking care to consider how we best use ourselves as a community to live the values of our profession and work toward defining and enacting a more just and more equitable society.
Shari E. Miller, PhD
Dean and Professor