University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Thompson School of Social Work
Department of Social Work
21 December 2020
We, at the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, Department of Social Work, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and against all forms of interpersonal, systemic, and institutional racism. The Department’s mission and vision include a focus on social justice and includes the core value of Hoʻokaulike: where the inherent dignity of all is recognized, valued, and restored. The impact of anti-Black institutionalized racism is lethal as witnessed by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others at the hands of law enforcement. Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that social determinants such as multigenerational trauma, discrimination, poverty, and social inequities have exposed disproportionately detrimental outcomes for Black communities and other marginalized people.
In light of the global pandemic and a tumultuous political climate culminating in a national election, we recognize that these days are an opportunity for momentous change. As we see a shift in the way we collectively acknowledge and approach systemic racism in this country, we have much work to do. As social work educators, practitioners, and scholars, we must continue to be representatives of our profession’s calling for social justice and reform while we hold these ideals and commit to do better by Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized people here in Hawaiʻi and beyond. We remain committed to antiracist education which is reflected in our curriculum and recent activities conducted in partnership with community stakeholders and in response to racist ideology and discriminatory practices.
The social work profession reflects a commitment to social justice, health equity, diversity, well-being, and personal and collective empowerment. However, the profession’s history is far from perfect and a statement is only as good as the actions that support and reflect its meaning. The values and principles of the profession remain intact and permeate the education provided by the department so that newly minted social workers can become immediate difference makers in the community.
We stand on our profession’s core values of working toward social justice, acknowledging the dignity and worth of all people, and the importance of integrity. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, we also remain committed to examining, discussing, and improving our investment in social change, and the emphasis we place on marginalized and underserved communities. We strive to represent the change we want to see, and to affirm our dedication to providing education to social workers who will change the world.