Please click here for the Needs Assessment Report and Additional Demographic Data prepared by Melanie Hood-Wilson and Associates, our DEI consultant. This Report is the outcome of the extensive member survey and interviews completed by Melanie over the past few months. Melanie. This information was presented at the Town Hall meeting on Saturday August 5, 2023.
Additional demographic data can be obtained here
One response to the Needs Assessment report is the development of a Community Communications Workgroup (CCW). Our DEI Consultant, Melanie Hood-Wilson, along with the Social Justice Branch director, Rachel Keller have formed an adhoc group composed of members of the GWSCSW. If you are interested in participating, please contact Rachel@AliveIntimacy.com. The CCW will meet no fewer than four times, starting in July 2023 to develop guidelines, research online forums, and propose organizational policy regarding community communication and conversation.
The goals of the workgroup are as follows:
The MD Department of Health is working to identify individuals to serve on a legislatively-mandated Workgroup on Black, Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander and Other Underrepresented Behavioral Health Professionals.” This group was established by HB 97 in 2022 and its effective date was extended one year by HB 615 this past session.
The Workgroup shall:
identify and study the shortage of behavioral health professionals in the State who are Black, Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander, or otherwise underrepresented in the behavioral health profession; and
assess and make recommendations on incentives or other methods to increase the number of underrepresented minorities.
This is not a bill that the GWSCSW was specifically requested to appoint someone to serve on the Workgroup; however, they are now actively seeking people to serve in seats that have not yet been filled:
a representative from the behavioral health profession
an individual who provides social services
2 representatives from professional associations that are made up of and primarily work to represent and support underrepresented behavioral health professionals
a representative from a hospital network in the state that primarily serve Black, Latino or Asian American Pacific Islanders
This is another opportunity to be involved in a Social Justice issue with the Society. Please let Judy Gallant know (email@example.com) if you are interested in serving on this workgroup.
Updates from the Social Justice Branch, as of August 2023:
History of the Social Justice Branch
In October of 2022, the Board created the Social Justice Branch (SJB) to continue the work started by The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) and expand its focus to include issues of importance to our members, including social justice, anti-racism, and LGBTQ+ concerns.
In October of 2022, ART began facilitating a discussion group for the Executive Committee on the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Race? By Robin DiAngelo. The book group was continued by the SJB and was completed in June of 2023.
In October of 2022, the Branch began the search and interviewing process for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultant.
In January of 2023, the board voted to hire Melanie Hood-Wilson & Associates (MHWA) for phase one of work on a DEI plan.
In April of 2023, GWSCSW hosted a Town Hall meeting, open to all members, facilitated by MHWA. Members were invited to share their thoughts on what is working, what could be better, and ideas for the future direction of the Society.
In June of 2023, MHWA submitted a Needs Assessment report based on a survey that was sent to all members and interviews with current members and past members who have recently left the society.
Currently, GWSCSW is in the process of entering phase two of work with MHWA, which will involve implementing recommendations from the Needs Assessment report, including a communications plan.
In the coming months, GWSCSW will host a second Town Hall Meeting open to all members, to discuss the upheaval from the hall, and provide the opportunity for all members to view and discuss the Needs Assessment Report.
It is our pleasure to announce that GWSCSW has hired Melanie Hood-Wilson and Associates (MHWA) as DEI consultants for GWSCSW. MHWA comes highly recommended by the non-profit and educational institutions with whom we spoke to at length, all of whom were very impressed by the way MHWA approaches the work of Diversity Equity and Inclusion. The leadership of GWSCSW are excited to work with MHWA which describes itself as a company that seeks to assist its clients in understanding America's racial and cultural disconnects by developing strategies to help them successfully grow, embrace, and embody the values Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is our hope that the GWSCSW will come to be known as an organization of increased diversity, equity, and inclusion which is so valued by the GWSCSW leadership and members.
As we begin collaboration with MHWA, the first steps are twofold. Step one will involve MHWA performing an internal equity audit and needs assessment through the review of GWSCSW's organization structures and the systems that support it, through the identification of white supremacy cultural norms that hinder the forward movement on the Antiracist Continuum. This process will involve the participation of our membership. If you are contacted, we ask and encourage you to participate openly and honestly so that the Society can make meaningful changes which will allow us to learn and grow as an organization. Once completed, MHWA will present its findings first to the Board and then to the membership. The second step will be the facilitation of a Membership Town Hall to be held in the Spring of 2023 (more information will be sent as soon as details are finalized - GWSCSW Town Hall | Saturday, April 22, 2023 9:00 AM. This will be an opportunity for the GWSCSW to come together to speak about DEI concerns, a vision for the future, and to be heard.
This is a first step, but it is not the last step. Moving toward an antiracist society is a long journey, and we hope you will be with us as we move towards the completion of our journey.
Please feel free to contact your Board with any questions, concerns, or to voice your desire to participate. GWSCSW Board and Social Justice Branch
Saturday, September 18, 2021 | 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Presenter: Kenneth V. Hardy, Ph.D.
Continuing Education: 3 CREDITS - This is a live, interactive workshop - although it will be recorded, the recording will not be available for distribution after the event.
Race remains a potent and polarizing issue in all domains of our society. Racial strife, misunderstanding, and even polarization in some cases are increasingly common occurrences in many organizational settings and practices.
Despite the omnipresence of race in our lives, progressive and meaningful conversations about race remain somewhere between difficult and impossible. Our efforts to talk about race openly and effectively are often characterized by avoidance, discomfort, and awkwardness. Those in leadership positions are often relied upon to navigate many of these difficult conversations and often without the requisite tools to do so.
This workshop will provide clinicians with tips and tools for promoting sustainable conversations about race with colleagues, co-workers, and clients. The identification of relevant personal race-related issues that may impede and/or facilitate effective and meaningful conversations will be explored.
Below is a clip from the Psychotherapy Networker where Dr. Hardy spoke about Making Talking About Race Your Work.
At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
About the Presenter:
Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy is a Clinical and Organizational Consultant at the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, NY where he also serves as Director. He provides Racially Focused Trauma Informed training, executive coaching, and consultation to a diverse network of individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad. He is a former Professor of Family Therapy at both Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Syracuse University in New York, and has also served as the Director of Children, Families, and Trauma at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York, NY.
He is the author of:
In addition to his consultation work, Dr. Hardy is a frequent conference speaker and has also appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Dateline NBC, PBS, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Anti-Racism Taskforce: Hannah Davis | Karla Abney | Mike Giordano | Margot Lamson | Kate Rossier | Wendi Kaplan
During our Brave Space Dialogue in February, the Anti-Racism Taskforce (ART) shared a Continuum on Becoming Anti-Racist. The continuum explores the culture shift that needs to take place to move from a monocultural to an anti-racist multicultural organization.
After such a robust conversation during the Brave Space Dialogue, we thought it was important to share an overview of this work with the whole Society. It’s important to note this work is viewed on a continuum, meaning it’s fluid and you and/or the organization can slide up and down the continuum in various ways. We realize on this journey of anti-racism it may be hard to fit yourself into one specific category and it’s important to remain fluid and be a continuous learner.
Monocultural → Multicultural → Anti-Racist → Anti-Racist Multicultural
Racial and Cultural Differences Seen as Deficits -> Tolerant Racial and Cultural Differences -> Racial and Cultural Differences Seen as Assets
Moving from Monocultural to Anti-Racist Multicilutural Organization
Passive: A passive institution can be thought of as a “good ol’ boys” club or network. It allows in “others” with a “proper” perspective and credentials. Monocultural norms of the dominant culture are viewed as the “right way.”
Identity Change: An identity change organization has a growing understanding of racism as a barrier to its work and mission. It as an increased commitment to dismantle racism, yet the culture may still maintain White privilege.
Fully inclusive: A fully inclusive institution has full participation from all and shares power. There is a sense of restored community and mutual caring, and members of this institution work as allies with others in combating all forms of social oppression.
Anti-Racism Taskforce (ART) - A brief report and suggestion for your own journey!
The Society's Anti-Racism Taskforce has been meeting bi-weekly over the past few months and we have been hard at work crafting our Vision and Mission Statements with as much care and thoughtfulness as we can. These statements help guide us in this work and keep us centered and focused - and we'd like to share these with you:
To build a more inclusive, safe, liberated, and action-oriented Society that is in alignment with anti-racism values.
Given the systemic nature of racism, we strive to transform ourselves as anti-racists on a personal, professional, and organizational level by engaging members through workshops, resource sharing, consulting and hosting “brave space” group discussions.
In keeping with the resource sharing part of our Mission Statement, we started a new Anti-Racism Taskforce page on the GWSCSW website. Please note that the ART page is still in the process of being built, but it includes a resource page to aid you on your own journey with suggestions for reading, listening, and watching. Know that there will be more to come!
Additionally, if you have read or watched something that could be added to our list, please feel free to share this - with us and/or with the listserv. We welcome your additions and know that many of you are already actively involved in your own journeys and have lots to share with the rest of us!
So, please, go to the page! Pick out something to engage with over this next month. Take an action to educate yourself!
Last, on February 27th, we hosted our first anti-racism conversation via zoom. It was nice to see some of you there and we are looking forward to continuing to cultivate brave spaces for conversation that aid and encourage us all as we move further on our paths towards being anti-racist.
As always, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Davis, Margot Lamson, Mike Giordano, Karla Abney, Kate Rossier
How has systemic racism impacted your clinical practice? How do you measure up as an anti-racist clinician? How often do you consider the effect of systemic racism on the issues bringing your clients to therapy?
Foundational to therapy is emotional intimacy. As clinical social workers, we are often quite skilled at navigating emotional intimacy around a range of topics that we see as micro influences on a client’s life, such as abuse, grief, and trauma. However, is it possible to foster emotional intimacy with a client without also reckoning with the macro forces that influence their lives? And ours?
Racism is but one important force that has shaped all of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Thus, in order to cultivate emotional intimacy with our clients, we must, as clinicians, first be willing to engage with the insidious nature of racism and sit with a great deal of discomfort. We must be willing to enter a brave space within ourselves before we can foster one with our clients.
Why brave space and not safe space? Well, safety means free of risk, harm, and controversy.
And yet, when we decide to engage with truths that challenge what we have been taught to believe about ourselves, others, and the world, it is impossible not to feel emotionally vulnerable, and it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. Instead of waiting to feel safe, we must normalize our fear and choose to be brave: afraid but doing it anyway.
When it comes to racism, whether we are white or a person of color, there is so much pain to be dealt with. Our choice, and the hard work, come in how to deal with the pain --whether or not we want to get involved in order to grow.
Members seeking a brave space within which to grow their understanding of how systemic racism comes up in the therapy room are encouraged to join us for a virtual conversation via Zoom. If interested, please email us at email@example.com
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA 22463 | 202-478-7638 | firstname.lastname@example.org