Social Justice at SSW

Just Community logoJust Community

Just Community is comprised of faculty, staff, Graduate Student Organization MSW and PhD student representatives, and BSW student representatives. Its role is to facilitate and support educational and advocacy efforts and to enhance inclusion of more anti-oppressive practices in our classrooms, programming, and in our daily interactions with one another at the school and our many communities. Through the power of education and advocacy we work for social change within the ideological, intrapersonal, and institutional levels. The ultimate goal is justice and inclusion for all.

Social Justice Spotlight

Summer 2019

A Personal Reflection on Values, Marginalization, & Effectiveness in Social Work Practice

By A Graduating MSW Student

The first thing I wrote down on my first day of school (as a master's student) was that social workers are agents of change through institutions; interrupting and ending cycles of oppression.  I also learned that achieving this outward-facing mission starts with the ability to turn inward and self-reflect.  As I get ready to graduate, I know this to be true.

While I always considered myself an ally to all marginalized groups, an experience during my first field placement helped me understand dynamics of oppression in a nuanced, and personal, way.  In this placement, I, a Jewish queer woman, was assigned to work closely with a professional who was vocally anti-Semitic, misogynist, and homophobic. I felt absolutely defeated before the job even began.

As a single mom, defeat is not a feeling I often entertain. My reality is that if I don’t create a path forward for myself and my son, there will be no path. For the first time I can remember, I was confronted with a situation I couldn’t think, talk, or buy my way out of. I was dealing with a person who saw my humanity as less than his own simply because of my DNA. No amount of relationship building or meeting him where he was could convince him that I, and anyone who identifies as I do, was not a “white devil”.

Although we were conducting work for an organization and cause about which I felt, and feel, passionately, and he comported himself with politeness, I could not un-know my partner’s underlying hatred and un-hear his hurtful comments. For a time, I attempted to ignore my internal experience for the sake of doing this important work.  Not long thereafter, however, I left the project and that field placement.  Even if I wanted to, I could not do my job effectively working with someone who refused to see my basic humanity.

As I look to the future and begin to build a career, I will always keep this experience in mind. Not just because of the feeling of helplessness that I never want to repeat, but because it was a great lesson in the relationship between my value(s) and my effectiveness. In order to live out the mission I wrote down on the first day of the MSW program, I cannot compromise my own humanity.  The sacrifice is too great.

Current students and SSW staff, do want to write the next Spotlight article? Submit 200-300 words on topic of your choosing to

Spaces We Offer

Solidarity Hour: Building Up  

Once a month we host Solidarity Hour which is a safe space for students, staff and faculty to discuss current issues, support one another, and practice self-care.  This is where we Share, Care, & Repair.

Community Hour: Building Out

Once a month we host Community Hour which is a space where students, staff and faculty come together to work towards social justice.  The events involve attendees completing a small project or meeting with a Community Member or Community Organization.  This is where we Discern, Learn, & Do a Good Turn.

Student-Centered Collaborations for Social Justice

Just Community collaborates with Graduate student interest groups.

Please contact us if you are interested in JC supporting your event!

Just Community Solidarity Hour

Just Community Solidarity Hour

Just Community Solidarity Hour

Gun Violence Panel

Gun Violence Panel

Just Community and Doctoral Student Organization Collaboration

Why We Are Here

Our Mission

To create a community at SSW that is capable of dialoging with, learning from, and participating in mobilizing social justice efforts towards the many social injustices and forms of oppression and inequities within our communities as well at the local and national levels.

Our Purpose

To provide spaces within the School for faculty, staff, and students to come together to educate, discuss, and debrief issues relevant to the social work profession within the context of our socio-cultural/political/historical and economic environments. These opportunities aim to help enhance personal and professional development, mobilize advocacy efforts, and promote an inclusive environment.


Within the Fabric of SSW

School’s Dedication to Anti-Oppressive Practice & Social Justice

Our dedication to anti-oppressive practice and social justice is reflected in our ongoing efforts to recruit and retain a diverse staff, faculty, student body, and associated field agencies. We are also committed to working with and within diverse communities. In accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics, we educate the School of Social Work community on anti-oppressive practice and social justice highlighting the importance of understanding intersectionality and the role that power and privilege play on individual, institutional and cultural levels. Particular attention is given to developing critical consciousness, examining the structural forces in our society that shape our socio-political environment,  and promoting advocacy that mobilizes social justice efforts.

Just Community Committee Members

Just Community Committee Chairs:

Marilyn Cardone, MSW, Assistant Director, Field Education
Margaret Lloyd, PhD, Assistant Professor


Ann Marie Garran, PhD, MSW Program Director, Associate Professor
Madri Hall-Faul, PhD Student
July Leon, Undergraduate Student
Natalie O'Connor, BA, Program Assistant, Office of Student and Academic Services
Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, PhD, Associate Professor and BSW Program Director


We Want to Hear from You

Looking for Just Community to support your event? Seeking volunteer opportunities or social justice resources? Please email us at: