November 25, 2014

To the UConn School of Social Work Community,

Salome Raheim, PhD, ACSW, Dean and Professor

It is with a heavy heart that we respond to the Grand Jury’s decision to clear Officer Darren Wilson on all five counts for the fatal shooting of unarmed 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th. We recognize the pain and loss of Michael Brown’s family and understand their profound disappointment with the decisions.

We also appreciate the family’s strength and honor their request that we work toward solutions. In the words of the family, “While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”

In the words of our president, “We … recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.”

At the UConn School of Social Work, we embrace this challenge. On Wednesday, December 3rd, we will come together to discuss Ferguson, and our own issues of racial, economic, and other forms of social justice in Connecticut. Details regarding the event will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, please join the leadership of the School in sending thoughts of comfort and hope to all the families of people whose lives have been lost just this year at the hands of the police.

Sincerely,

Salome Raheim, Ph.D., ACSW
Dean and Professor