Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Newsletter
February 2021
Welcome to the first issue of the DEI newsletter from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This newsletter provides a space for connection, reflection, as well as sharing DEI information and resources. In this edition:
Celebrating Black History
Faculty Spotlight
Student Tips
Food for Thought
DEI Initiatives
DEI News
Trainings and Events
Celebrating Black History-The National Association of Black Social Workers
As we celebrate Black History Month this February, we recognize and honor the contributions of Black social workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers(NABSW) to the social work profession.

Before NABSW was formed in 1968, Black social workers formed advocacy groups to address individual and institutional racism and to empower others of African descent. Through the NABSW, people of African ancestry unify in combating racism and white supremacy. NABSW promotes the welfare, survival, and liberation of the Black Community, and advocates for social change at the national, state, and local level. NABSW's work include addressing the overrepresentation of children of color in the child welfare and juvenile systems, leading efforts to secure reparations for people of African ancestry, promoting health and wellness of African Americans, and voter education.

To read more about NABSW and its contribution to the social work profession, click here
Faculty Spotlight
Each edition will feature a faculty, student, staff, alumni or community member who, through their work, advances diversity, equity, inclusion and promotes the values of anti-racism and anti-oppression.

In this edition, we are uplifting the work of associate professor- Dr. Melissa Smith. Dr. Smith's research focuses on community based mental health care and mental illnesses in the BIPOC community. Dr. Smith was driven to research these areas because of the lack of peer reviewed research on these topics. In her most recent peer reviewed article, The Impact of Exposure to Gun Violence Fatality on Mental Health Outcomes in Four Urban U.S. Settings, Dr. Smith and her co-authors discuss how gun violence increases the risk for severe psychological distress among minoritized populations. Dr. Smith's article is published in Social Science & Medicine and can be accessed through our HSHSL Library

Dr. Smith noted that being in this field of research has changed her outlook on the importance of enhancing mental health awareness in BIPOC communities. Dr. Smith's advice to students interested in pursing a career in academic research is to volunteer and connect with faculty members who teach topics that are of interest to them. If you like you reach out to Dr. Smith, you can email her at msmith@ssw.umaryland.edu
Student Tips
How to Obtain Educational Support and Disability Services (ESDS) Accommodations

  1. Review the documentation guidelines here. You may want to bookmark this link for future use. Here is an overview of different types of accommodations:
  2. Reach out to your primary care physician or healthcare provider that is treating your condition and review the documentation guidelines with them. Have a discussion on how your physician writes the note, what should and should not be included, and what accommodations are best suited for your needs. Ask that the letter has a letterhead from the practice and that your physician signs the note.
  3. Complete the Disability Disclosure and Reasonable Accommodations Application and submit your documentation form
  4. A representative will reach out to you to schedule a virtual appointment to discuss accommodations.
  5. After meeting with the representative, download your accommodation note and email your professors to discuss accommodations for the semester. Remember that this process must be repeated EACH semester.
For more information, contact:
  • SSW's Office of Student Affairs-https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/students/student-affairs/
  • SSW's Office of Student Services-https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/student-services/
  • Office of Educational Support and Disability Services (ESDS)-disabilityservices​@​umaryland.edu
Food for Thought
What Does It Mean to be Anti-Racist?

We often hear individuals refer to themselves as anti-racist, or see institutions post on their websites that they are anti-racist organizations. But what does it really mean to be anti-racist? According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, being anti-racist means to have self awareness to make choices that are actively non-biased. For white people, it is about acknowledging privilege and identifying internalized racist beliefs. For BIPOC individuals, it's looking at how racism has become internalized.

To find out more on being anti-racist, we invite you to explore these reading materials:
DEI Initiatives At SSW
Restorative Practices in Action

The purpose of the Restorative Practices in Action Initiative is to work towards building a strong restorative culture at SSW. Restorative principles and practices are rooted in indigenous societies. They can be applied both reactively in response to conflict and proactively to strengthen community by fostering inclusion, equity, belonging, communication and empathy.

Phase 1: Introduce Restorative Approaches
Phase 2: Training
Phase 3: Develop and train a core group of individuals who can serve as RP facilitators
Phase 4: Integrate RP in all settings
Phase 5: Evaluation

We are currently in Phase 3. If you are interested in being part of a core group of individuals who can serve as RP facilitators, please email sswdeioffice@ssw.umaryland.edu.
Affinity Spaces

Our social work affinity spaces provide an opportunity for people to connect with others who share aspects of their identity. The spaces are meant to be a hybrid of “doing” and “being”. Spaces are opened to all members of the SSW community and are facilitated by social work faculty and staff. No registration required.

There are currently four affinity groups:
BIPOC:This space aims to create a supportive community of learning, advocacy and radical self-care.

White Accountability Space: This space is geared towards white people who want to take an anti-racist stance in learning about race and who are willing to face their discomfort, uncertainty, or anger in the process.
A Space for People Interested in Disability Advocacy and Justice: This space is aimed at creating a supportive community of support and advocacy for individuals with disabilities.

LGBTQ+: This is a space for processing, building community and strategizing for issues that impact LGBTQ+ folx.

If you are interested in finding out more information about our affinity spaces or becoming a facilitator, please email sswdeioffice@ssw.umaryland.edu.
DEI Pulse Survey

Last Fall 2020 into this Spring 2021, the DEI pulse survey was administered. This pulse survey was aimed at understanding the the experiences and perspectives of our faculty, staff and students related to equity, inclusion and belonging. Check your emails and the Daily Bulletin for more information on the data collected from the report.
Get to Know the DEIC

The DEIC (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee) is the School of Social Work's school wide committee charged with fostering an atmosphere of equity and inclusiveness. The DEIC works in a consultative role with other committees within the school, makes recommendations, and implements relevant actions related to advancing social justice within the school. The committee serves as a repository of public information pertaining to the school’s efforts to address issues of diversity, racism, oppression, and inclusiveness. The standing committee consists of representation from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. In addition to receiving leadership from its co-chairs and other committee members, the DEIC also receives support and leadership from the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The DEIC meets the third Mondays of each month from 12:15-1:45pm. If you are interested in attending a DEIC meeting, you main join at https://umaryland.zoom.us/j/94065049447. The next meeting will take place on Monday, March 15th from 12:15-1:45pm. 
Upcoming DEI Training Events
L.E.A.D: February 12th-March 5th

L.E.A.D. which stands for Leading for Equity, Anti-Racism and Diversity, is a 5 part eConvening training and coaching series through the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. It is focused on cultivating an anti-racist mindset, promoting equity and dismantling structural racism and oppression. L.E.A.D. will run from February 12th through March 12th. For more information on L.E.A.D. please email sswdeioffice@ssw.umaryland.edu.
Interview and Selection Training: February 22nd-April 26th

This three-hour training addresses how to interview and select candidates using fair and equitable practices. It will be led by the Office and Human Resources and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.The training is designed for hiring managers and any employee who is participating as a hiring/search committee member. Check your emails and the daily bulletin for more information. For more information you may contact the Office of Human Resources or the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at sswdeioffice@ssw.umaryland.edu.
Past DEI Events
Introduction to Restorative Practices and Using Circles Effectively
This two-day training, held on January 13th and 14th, focused on giving participants the skills needed to build positive and restorative environment in their units, classrooms and workplace. Participants learned the essentials of Restorative Practices, and the social science on which it is based.
DEI Brown Bags with USG
The School of Social Work's UMB and USG campuses held a joint brown bag session on Race & Politics in Clinical Practice on February 1st, 2021 for USG students.