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The Metro DC Chapter is one of 55 chapters of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the largest association of professional social workers in the United States. Our 1,100-plus members serve all populations, including children, adolescents, families, older adults, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, and others. They also serve clients in every DC ward and work setting, as well as in the DC metropolitan area such as Northern Virginia and nearby Maryland.

This In the News section features the latest articles and news from the Metro DC Chapter, including press releases, policy or issue statements, professional and licensing updates, training announcements, and other content relevant to the work of Metro DC social workers.

If you are a member of the media seeking an interview, comment, or answer to questions, please contact Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at driggs.naswdc@socialworkers.org.     


NASW Metro DC Racial Justice Updates, Resources: Commemorating the 4-Year Anniversary of George Floyd Jr. Murder


Four years ago, DC social workers and the rest of the nation watched in horror the videotaped murder of George Floyd, Jr., a Minneapolis Black man who was slowly suffocated by a white police officer during a simple investigation into a potential counterfeit $20 bill. The death sparked nationwide protests and led to a burst of racial justice actions and “new” anti-racism commitments as organizations and individuals scrambled to respond. 

 

NASW had long been involved in anti-discrimination and racial equality efforts but professed that it could have been doing more in a 2021 statement of apology for its historical support of “policies and activities that have harmed people of color.” Since then, the social work profession and NASW have made significant strides in expanding its professional and policy work around eliminating systemic racism. 

 

One of the first steps was NASW’s examination of racism within its organization and the social work profession, which led to publication of Undoing Racism through Social Work: NASW Report to the Profession on Racial Justice Priorities and Action.

 

Also, social workers can access race-related resources, trainings, publications, and research at NASW’s Racial Equity site.  

 

NASW Metro DC Chapter, meanwhile, released this statement of condemnation and call for justice after Mr. Floyd’s murder and reinvigorated its role in the fight against systemic racism. 

 

With input from members, the chapter greatly expanded its racial-justice-related trainings and conference sessions; increased its use of leaders of color as event speakers; lobbied for restorative justice scholarships for Black social work students; fought state bills and regulations that would disproportionately harm people of color; held town halls to share grief, anger, and proposed actions; and more. Through education and activism, the chapter continues to advance a more equitable society for Black social workers and their clients of color. 

 

Advocacy around all of these issues takes work—and volunteers. Any member interested in joining the chapter’s Policy and Social Justice Committee is invited to contact Executive Director Debra Riggs at driggs.naswdc@socialworkers.org. The group helps chart the chapter’s policy priorities and work to advance NASW Metro DC and NASW goals around anti-racism, human rights, support of the profession, and more.  

 

Below are some resources and news around racial justice and health disparities to assure DC social workers that the chapter is staying on top of its commitment. No matter how long the battle takes to attain a society that offers “liberty and justice for all,” social workers will continue to lead the way!

 

 

 

  • For a quick overview of the health of Black Americans, visit the Office of Minority Health’s microsite, which cites the latest research and statistics on higher-than-average rates of death, maternal mortality, chronic diseases, and more. Many of these outcomes are due to systemic racism that has led to lower or late-stage physical and mental health treatments, inadequate access to affordable housing or nutrition, higher injury rates or deaths from gun violence, and rising suicide rates.   

 

“While the horrible death of George Floyd, Jr., may seem in the increasingly distant past, it is up to us as social workers and our organization to keep alive the momentum for positive change resulting from the national outrage and anger of that terrible day,” said Riggs. “Together, we will continue battling systemic racism and show that Black lives matter more than ever.”