NOFSW Anti-Racism Statement and Comment on Recent Events
Silence is complicity. So, the National Organization of Forensic Social Work joins others across the U.S. in speaking out to condemn the institutional racism that resulted in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – and the long history of racial violence that lead up to them. NOFSW has law enforcement officers as members, family, and friends who honorably wear their badges/dedicate their lives to service. But we cannot let our relationship with law enforcement quell our outrage over the racial violence perpetrated against individuals and communities of color across the country. We cannot breathe. It must stop.
We affirm the protection of Black life (both individually and organizationally) and denounce abuse of power and the policies and/or culture that perpetuates the protection of those who exploit the trust and responsibility gifted to them by the community. To that end, we have revised our anti-racism statement and recommitted the organization towards transformative change.
NOFSW Anti-Racism Statement:
The National Organization of Forensic Social Work’s commitment to social justice includes the explicit recognition of and work to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy.
Because of our unique work with legal systems, we wrestle with their (and thus, our) perpetuation of racial and ethnic disparities, structural oppression, dis-empowerment, and violence.
We also recognize that legal systems can help protect the vulnerable, care for the maltreated, and advocate for the voiceless. So, it is in this vein that we stand with those working towards promoting just, anti-racist, and empowering change. To that end, we continue in our commitment to prepare social workers and allied professionals to:
· Acknowledge the systems, policies, and practices that advantage some while disadvantaging others and work towards crafting more equitable solutions
· Practice anti-racism and challenge institutionalized prejudice, oppression, and abuse of power while supporting those most affected by these actions
· Address the underlying root causes of racism and contributors to crime such that healing, rehabilitation, and community-based initiatives replace punitive responses that have sustained the system of racial hierarchy and inequity
· Engage in critical personal and institutional reflection/examination and foster collaborative dialogue to address racism across the various systems of power and privilege, oppression, and discrimination
· Work toward system, policy, and practice reform that eliminates the racial hierarchy, achieves racial equity, and ensures “justice for all”