2021 began with news that the police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake would not be charged with any crime. This followed news from earlier this fall in which a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky declined to file charges against the officers who were responsible for the murder of Breonna Taylor.

Last year, we witnessed the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Walter Wallace, Jr., Casey Goodson, Andre Hill, Bennie Edwards and others — each at the hands of the police. These names were added to the continuing…

Affirming the Call for Social Work to Fully Support Defunding the Police

The murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, at the same time that a deadly pandemic is exposing the failings of our systems of care, has created a unique moment for the profession of social work to reflect on its relationship with institutions that perpetuate racism. Over the past month, social work has been both called on as a possible solution to violent policing, and called out for our profession’s complicity with racist state systems of control and coercion. …

An Open Letter to NASW and Allied Organizations on Social Work’s Relationship with Law Enforcement

Update: Thank you to everyone who signed on to this letter. We received 1,140 signatures and submitted these to NASW on June 22, 2020.

As social workers, we are encouraged by the recent attention our profession has received in the press and in public conversation. This publicity has largely acknowledged social work’s unique knowledge, values, and skills that may be more effective in responding to many issues that police officers are not trained to handle, including homelessness, mental health concerns, domestic violence, and others. …

Alan Dettlaff

Dean and Maconda Brown O’Connor Endowed Dean’s Chair at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

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