January 16, 2023 at 11:08 AM

Make a Career of Humanity

Dear CSSW Community,

For the past 37 years, our country has honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by holding a national day of remembrance. It is a day when many of us come together in service to uphold the beliefs and vision Dr. King lived for, and died for.

As we celebrate 125 years as a school of social work, Dr. King’s teachings become even more relevant. Especially as we see an increase in anti-semitism, anti-Asian violence, anti-Black racism, and many other forms of oppression each day. Dr. King’s teachings align with what is the very best of the social work profession – what we strive to be at our core: fighting for the right for all of humanity to thrive.

In Dr. King’s address at the Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1959, he encouraged the young people in attendance to: “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” His commitment to social justice made him determined, at any cost, to push the goodness of humanity forward. We are a better nation and world because of it.

It’s important to remember that Dr. King was not always popular and well-loved. It’s our hindsight that enables us to lift up his work the way in which we do. As social workers, you, too, will take on causes that may not feel popular right now. You, too, may find yourself on the right side of history ultimately – yet for the moment, endure opposition, ridicule, and blame as you seek to dismantle systemic inequities. Dr. King reminds us to do the work anyway. We will be better for it, and our country and world need it.

In Community,

Melissa Begg

Dean & Professor

Karma Lowe

Senior Associate Dean for DEI, Enrollment, & Community Engagement