After the recent presidential election CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey reached out to CSWE members asking them to share how they are assisting faculty members, staff members, and students in their schools and programs, as well as on the wider campuses and in surrounding communities, in processing the election results and the emotions that have arisen from them.
Coffey shared several resources in her communication to members. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a Teaching Tolerance curriculum, which was designed for K-12 teachers but has much information applicable for higher education. One of the resources created by the Center is titled “The Day After.”
Human Rights Campaign has posted a “stand in solidarity” map where people can share messages of support.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has many articles. A place to start might be Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz’s Lesson Plans After the Shock: How Instructors Treated Trump’s Win in the Classroom.
Katie Gibson, MSW, curriculum coordinator at the University of Michigan, and her colleagues developed the following ground rules for their Current Event Café series. Ground rules provide a framework for having honest, accountable, and brave conversations and answer the question, how will we learn/unlearn together?
- Preserve the inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Respect others viewpoints while taking risks and raising consciousness
- Criticize ideas, not individuals
- Explore differences and share similarities; use active listening
- Acknowledge “journey learning” as every person is at a different point in their un/learning
- Commit to learning, not debating
- Move forward/move back (if you tend to speak often, listen; if you tend to listen often, speak up)
- Use “me”-first or “I”-centered language; own your statements and questions
- Avoid blame, speculation, and inflammatory language
- Share the time/space equitably; each individual should have an opportunity to contribute
- This is not a space for observation or class research, but rather full/intentional engagement and discussion
Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, LICSW, RPT-S, University Distinguished Professor of Social Work Emerita at
Fordham University, offers a link to the article “Your Post-Election Pain Is Real Grief” by Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post.
Lauren E. Renkert, PhD, LCSW, of Appalachian State University shares the following e-mail that was sent to ASU faculty members and students following the election. Renkert notes that this message was inspired by the faculty, students, and community, and her own belief that the concept that best summarizes social work is potential.
We have all just participated in and witnessed an historical time in our country. As a country, we have come through a difficult, divisive, and passionate campaign cycle that has undoubtedly left its mark on us and others across the globe. As we move forward today, and into our future together, I urge you to take time to reflect and then act with compassion, respect, kindness, and purpose. Reflect first on your own thoughts and feelings about the outcome of our election and our democracy. So far today, I have encountered individuals who are experiencing an array of emotions—sadness, elation, fear, excitement, anger, hope—and who are feeling the inertia or energy that comes with experiencing strong emotion. Among us, I have no doubt that we, too, collectively represent the many different perspectives that this election has given voice to. Let us hear each other.
We are part of a larger community of social workers who aspire to the core values of our profession--service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. The election has not changed this. Nor has it changed our departmental commitment to social justice and community engagement and our mission to promote the well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities. Let us move forward with resolve and commitment to fulfill our mission.
Joseph D. Minarik, MSW, MPP, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shares his Strategies and Interventions Exercise. Aimed at inviting participants to think creatively and strategically about interrupting or confronting others who make racist comments in relatively public or group settings, the exercise has been used regularly in intergroup dialogue courses and recently for the community at large.