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Statement of the BU Academic Social Work Team of support for BASW and NASW positions on recent events in the USA

In light of the ongoing events in the USA and burgeoning action across the world, including our local area, we want to make a brief statement to our student groups about our view, as a team, on this situation.

In truth, the words of NASW and BASW sum up all that we can say here:

As a team we have watched in dismay at the headline events that have unfurled recently, the images of the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmad Arbrey left us all stunned.

We know too that these are simply the tip of the iceberg.

We want you to know that we support your efforts at raising consciousness, at raising your voices in protest and the work that each of you do to make change happen.

As social work students, we know you are already working towards the empowerment and support of fellow citizens, and for some of you are already active in social movements outside of your studies.

The truth is, in the academic team, we all come from a place of privilege, given to us by being born white, and not earned by our own endeavours. We can do no better than to reflect on Dr King’s words and on his central point, made over 50 years ago.  From that place, we know we have to keep working to ensure that through our actions we do not form part of the ‘stumbling block’.

In 1967, Martin Luther King wrote: “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Extract from Letter from a Birmingham Jail, full audio available from

Points of information for learning and possible action:

From British Association of Social Workers (

Places inside BU that may be points of action:

Student Union Be Involved page

SUBU Debates -may be a good forum for discussion in a slightly more formal way to discuss ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of protest and its underlying causes.

Social Sciences Society may be a group of people who will be particularly interested in the events presently and their ramifications.

The wellbeing service –  For people who may be feeling particularly unsettled and uncertain in regard to all the stressful events taking place right now; COVID-19, potential recession due to ongoing loss of business, civil unrest and dissatisfaction. The wellbeing service may be able to help with both informal online contact to discuss stressors or to recommend further support with more formal counselling.

Interesting and informative perspectives: 

Best wishes to you all,

The Social Work Team, Bournemouth University

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