Congressional Briefing – Black Lives Matter: Social Work and the Future of Policing

Recent congressional briefing cosponsored by GCSW highlights the challenges and solutions for Achieving Equal Opportunity and Justice, Promoting Smart Decarceraton, and Eliminating Racism.

Policing in America is racially violent. We have seen this recently in the murder of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer; in the death of Breonna Taylor, shot eight times in a no-knock raid of her apartment in Louisville, KY; and in the shotgun death of Ahmaud Arbury by vigilantes while Arbury was jogging in Glynn County, GA. Moreover, all of these homicides occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately wreaked havoc on communities of color. There is growing awareness that longstanding racism in America is not just morally wrong—it is deadly. People from all racial backgrounds are speaking up; they have peacefully taken to the streets in cities around the globe and in numbers not seen since the 1960s, demanding long overdue reforms.

Calls to “defund the police” have spawned initiatives to rethink and reimagine policing. Social workers have been engaged in efforts to create more equitable and effective systems for public service for years, and stand ready to lead this urgently needed transformation. See Social Work and the Future of Policing: Key Points for Changes in Policy and Practice.

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