Ovita Williams

Dr. Ovita Williams is Executive Director of the Action Lab for Social Justice and Lecturer of Discipline at Columbia School of Social Work. During her clinical practice as a social worker, Dr. Williams worked with survivors of intimate partner violence in the forensic social work arena with ten years of experience as the Director of Clinical Services in the Counseling Services Unit at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to this position, Dr. Williams was a
child and family therapist at the Children’s Aid Society. She is currently involved in racial equity facilitation and committed to social justice and ending gender-based violence.

Dr. Williams has developed and facilitated interactive workshops for social workers, managers, and various practitioners at organizations on facilitating challenging dialogues around race, class, gender, sexual orientation and intersecting identities. At Columbia, Dr. Williams has worked with students, alumni, faculty and administrators on the development of a new course Decolonizing Social Work through a power, race, oppression, privilege framework. The course centers dismantling anti-Black racism and white supremacy culture. She is coauthor of Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn: A guide for social work field education (2019) and contributed a chapter to The enduring, invisible, and ubiquitous centrality of whiteness, (2022), Ed. Kenneth Hardy.

A graduate of Vassar College (’90) and Columbia University (’93), Dr. Williams received her doctorate from the City University of New York Graduate Center, Silberman School of Social Welfare in New York City.
Dr. Williams was born in Guyana, South America and calls Brooklyn, New York home. The eldest of four brave women, daughter to a strong woman and mother to a beautiful daughter, Dr.Williams is committed to celebrating womanhood and sisterhood. She enjoys exploring beaches, locating lighthouses and random road trips.