Social justice has long been at the forefront of the core values of the social work profession. Social workers are charged to confront social injustices and advocate for social change. In 2014, there was a societal response across the United States to the deaths of two African-American men, Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and the decision to not indict the police officers who killed them. The collective reaction was reflective of a country unsettled by the criminal justice system’s ongoing acceptance of structural discrimination. This article will focus on one university’s social work faculty’s collective response to the brutal killings of African-American men by police officers. With a main campus located in the suburbs and a satellite campus situated in a major city, the faculty felt compelled to guide students from both campuses through an understanding of what was happening locally and nationally by facilitating forums and programs to engage in dialog, not only in the classroom, but throughout the campus community. The concept of the living classroom is introduced and applied as a way to combat discrimination and advocate for social justice and human rights.
Social Work Education: The International Journal
Taylor & Francis
Lane, T. Y., Chiarelli-Helminiak, C. M., Bohrman, C., & Lewis, T. (2017). The teachable moment: engaging students in social justice movements. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2016.1268120