The KU School of Social Welfare expresses solidarity with individuals and communities engaged in direct action to protest police violence, systemic racism, and oppression.
These direct actions are a response to the continued enforced invisibility, police violence, militarism, systemic racism and oppression of Black people. There is no comfort or solace in the collective trauma of these protests.
Our Code of Ethics as social workers calls us to confront this uncomfortably and to engage in social and political action to eliminate injustice. To neglect engagement and opt for neutrality in the face of oppression results in the strengthening of systemic oppression.
Direct action strategies, including protests, have been used successfully to challenge oppressive systems and structures. We live in a society in which peaceful protests led by people of color are often met with overt criticism at best and acts of violence at worst, and where Black people have been systematically disenfranchised, violated, and murdered. The direct actions we are witnessing across the country are a response to centuries of racial trauma and violence. It is essential that as social workers we understand the ways in which this violent history results in historic and ongoing trauma and, therefore necessitates a direct action approach to social change.