BLACK LIVES MATTER: Statement from the Columbia School of Social Work Community

December 4, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

xxxAs members of Columbia University's School of Social Work community, we stand in solidarity with allies across the country as we process the news of a Grand Jury decision not to indict Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. One week after a similar decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown, we are called again—as professionals and citizens—to speak out against systemic racism and oppression in our country overall and our justice system in particular.

As a social work community charged with a mission to promote human rights and social justice, we are outraged by the decision and call for immediate and sustained action to examine, analyze and redress the harmful and pervasive effects of racism.

Black lives matter.

Communities of color are disproportionately targeted by police and the justice system. Violations of basic human rights in the name of law and order, including the deaths of people of color at the hands of those charged to protect them and our civil society, are unacceptable. Immediate attention and resources are needed to begin healing and to ensure they will not happen again (or be tolerated) today, tomorrow, next week, EVER.

Black lives matter.

Today we join social work colleagues from Smith College, Portland State University, the National Association of Social Workers and numerous other organizations and schools who have made public statements in the wake of Michael Brown’s death and the Ferguson, MO, Grand Jury decision, in calling for community members to engage in offering:

  • Immediate and sustained meaningful support to those closest to these struggles;
  • Non-violent social and political action to demand systemic change that promotes justice, safeguards human rights, and ensures fair and equitable treatment and respect for all people;
  • Critical dialogue about the systemic forces of racism that shape us and construct and constrict our perceptions about and relationships with others;
  • Investigation and analysis of the many ways racism and structural oppression affect our communities—the places we all live, work and study; and
  • Development of collective community approaches to begin healing both the acute pain and suffering caused by these events and the historical trauma relived in their wake and every day.

Michael Brown matters.

Eric Garner matters.

Black lives matter.


Mariela G. Alburges

Heidi Allen

Dana Alonzo

Maria Teresa Alzuru

Randi Anderson

M.K. Babcock

William Bailey

Michelle S. Ballan

Kim Barberich

Cindy M. Bautista-Thomas

Joan L. Bell

Elana R. Berman

Ashley Bogosian

Kathy Boudin

Rosa Maria Bramble

Denise Burnette

Daniel Bustillo

Leopoldo J. Cabassa

Miriam P. Callahan

Ed Cardona, Jr.

Fang-pei Chen

Helaine Ciporen

Kathleen Clougherty

Courtney D. Cogburn

Christine A. Consiglio

Anne Conway

Jenny Crawford

Moira Curtain

Natasha Dachos

Kalima DeSuze

Mary Ann Drury

Nabila El-Bassel

Richard Embry

Amanda Erekson

Ronald Feldman

Prudence Fisher

Teresa Gardian

Irv Garfinkel

Juan David Gastolomendo

Louisa Gilbert

Amanda Glass

Bonnie Glass

Rick Greenberg

Channon J. Greenfield

Jamie Greenfield

Andrew Hamid

Richard Hara

Anna Hedrick

Leona Hess

Trélan Holder

Heidi Horsley

Timothy Hunt

André Ivanoff

Pascale Jean-Noel

Monique Jethwani

Tina Jiwatram-Negron

Alysse Jordan

Kay Johnson

Jeffrey Karaban

Amy Kapadia-Little

Neeraj Kaushal

Su Jin Suzy Kim

Jean Kjellstrand

Jenni Kurosman

Marcus Lam

Kathryne Leak

Vicki Lens

Susan Lob

Karma Lowe

Ellen Lukens

Michael MacKenzie

Adeline Medeiros

Jarron R. Magallanes

Judith Marks

Yamile Martí

Lucia McBee

Aizhan Mitteldorf

Lynn Micholopoulos

Ron Mincy

Yesika Montoya

Ada Mui

Onaje Muid

Wendy Naidich

Elijah C. Nealy

Amelia Ortega

Meagan Patrick

Adam Pelligrini

Rogério Pinto

Lorraine Pirro

Mark Preston

Mary Ragan

Rahbel Rahman

Cameron Rasmussen

Markus Redding

John Robertson

Dorothy Robinson

Amanda Rocha

Raysa Rodriguez

Marion Riedel

Nancy Ring

Jennifer Samimi-Luu

Craig Schwalbe

Catherine Shugrue dos Santos 

Beth Silverman-Yam

Ana Singh

Barbara Simon

Tamara L. Smith

Mary Sormanti

I-Hsing Sun

Jeanette C. Takamura

Joanne Toran

Julien Teitler

Helle Thorning

Katherine Tineo

Jenna Tutjer

Jane Waldfogel

Doug Warn 

Kimberly Westcott

Cheryl Wilkins

Ovita Williams

Charles R. Williamson, Jr.

Susan S. Witte

David Yam

Allen Zweben

Related Links:

Related External Link:

"Decisions Not to Indict in Deaths of Black Men Spark Activism on Campuses," by Katharine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education (9 December 2014) cites the CSSW statement.

Image: "Black Lives Matter Black Friday," by Otto Yamamoto via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).