The SSA Alumni Association Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Dear SSA Alumni:

As a Black pre-teen growing up on the Southside of Chicago, I remember vividly the conversations my family had with me around race. The conversations centered on how to conduct myself when questioned by the police, what neighborhoods to avoid at night, and to never drive in a car with more than three other Black men. Why are these conversations normal for Black families to have with their children? As an adult, I now understand. Even though my family taught me that Black Lives Matter, they were preparing me for a world that repeatedly reinforced the opposite; that our lives do not matter.

Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed unprecedented global protests in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. As president of the SSA Alumni Association, I am proud to see that many SSA alumni, students, faculty, and staff are also in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. I also wanted to share a recent message from Dean Deborah Gorman-Smith, and Dean of Students, Diversity and Inclusion, Sara Furr, which condemn racial injustice and call upon all of us to work towards racial justice.

I charge each of us to deepen our commitment to anti-racist social work practice, as well as deepening our personal relationship with Black communities across the country. We need to continue conversations and practices that shift the Black Lives Matter movement from being a concept for equity and inclusion to a lived reality.

On behalf of the SSA Alumni Association, I am proud of our alumni for leading social change in partnership with communities, and working to challenge global structural racism. The history of social work is deeply rooted in social justice and human rights. As social workers, we are uniquely positioned to advocate, lead, and work to dismantle systemic racism that will put us on a path to change for equity and inclusion.

Lastly, I would like to share information about opportunities for dialogue and action.

Non-Black People of Color and White People: Challenge Your Own Racism and that of Others

  1. Non-Black People of Color & White People: Challenge Your Own Racism and that of Others
    1. Educate yourself and stay informed. Engage with current and historical works, such as:
    2. Organize and participate in within-identity group spaces to gain self-awareness around implicit and explicit biases and participation in upholding and strategies to dismantle white supremacy. For example, organize a group to implement Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook challenge.
    3. Engage in racial justice work. Locate resources on how to be involved (e.g., A Guide to Being an Ally75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice6 Things White People Can Do To Reach Friends and Family Members to End Racism).
    4. Learn about what is happening in your community regarding dismantling anti-Black racism. Showing up for Racial Justice has many chapters around the country and tend to be predominantly white spaces where white people support other white people in becoming anti-racist.
    5. Raise awareness and talk about/acknowledge ongoing and historical roots of racial violence and oppression of Black and Brown communities with family, friends, colleagues, peers, students, etc.
    6. Challenge and address acts of racism and oppression.
    7. Read President Obama’s How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change and the report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  2. Make a Donation to Memorial and Bailout Funds
    1. George Floyd Memorial Fund
    2. Minnesota Freedom Fund
    3. I Run with Maud - Justice for Ahmaud Arbery Fundraiser
    4. National Bailout Funds - Free Black Mamas
    5. Dream Defenders
    6. Black Visions
    7. Reclaim the Block
    8. MPD150 (People’s Project Evaluating Policing)
    9. Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
    10. Northstar Health (Mutual Aid MN)
    11. Brooklyn Community Bailout
    12. Louisville Community Bail Fund
  3. Support Organizations and Groups Working Towards Change
    1. Black Lives Matter
    2. Black Youth Project 100
    3. Color of Change
    4. Race Forward
    5. Communities United for Police Reform
    6. FAKEQUITY
    7. RaceBaitr
    8. Teaching Tolerance

In solidarity,

Eugene Robinson Jr., AM ‘09
The University of Chicago
School of Social Service Administration
SSA Alumni Association, President