Celebrating 50 Years of Social Work Education with Pioneering Voices

The event organized by the Graduate College of Social Work marked a significant milestone – its 50th anniversary. Angela Davis and Jane Elliott were invited as guest speakers to bring attention to critical issues of social, racial, economic, and political justice. The event attracted a diverse audience, including elected officials, University of Houston representatives, and members of the public.

Deep-Dive Discussion: Racism, Privilege, and Systemic Injustice

The conversation between Angela Davis and Jane Elliott delved into the enduring presence of racism in society. Davis emphasized the deep-rooted nature of systemic injustice and the ongoing efforts required to combat it. The discussion also highlighted the importance of recognizing privilege and understanding its connection to racism.

Jane Elliott’s Blue-Eyed/Brown-Eyed Exercise: A Lesson in Equality

Jane Elliott shared her renowned blue-eyed/brown-eyed exercise, which she has used for decades to challenge stereotypes and promote equality. This exercise involves dividing participants into groups based on eye color and subjecting one group to discrimination. The exercise highlights the impact of prejudice and helps participants develop empathy and awareness.

From Awareness to Action: The Role of Education in Combating Racism

Both Angela Davis and Jane Elliott stressed the crucial role education plays in addressing racism. Davis emphasized the need to ask critical questions and challenge dominant narratives. Elliott shared her experiences using education to confront racial bias and dismantle discriminatory assumptions.

Recognizing Privilege: A Call to Action for Social Equality

The speakers emphasized the importance of individuals recognizing their privilege and using it as a driving force for social change. They highlighted the need to unite in the fight against racism and work collectively to create a more just and inclusive society.

Challenges of Privatization: Impact and Accountability in Society

The event also addressed the issue of privatization and its impact on various aspects of society. Discussions revolved around the profitability of prison privatization and the need for local officials to stand against it. Participants were encouraged to engage in local politics and advocate for justice.

Countering Historical Amnesia: Preserving Narratives and Subjugated Knowledge

A critical aspect of promoting social justice involves countering historical amnesia and preserving narratives that have been marginalized or ignored. The speakers discussed the importance of recognizing the contributions of marginalized groups, such as the Black Panthers, and challenging dominant discourses.

Confronting Discomfort: The Role of Education in Shaping Social Consciousness

The conversation concluded with the acknowledgment that discomfort is an essential part of the learning process. Both speakers emphasized the need to challenge distorted narratives and teach the truth about history. They encouraged individuals to be open to discomfort and actively work towards positive change.

Angela Davis and Jane Elliott’s discussion at the University of Houston’s social justice event provided valuable insights into promoting racial justice and social change. Their emphasis on education, privilege recognition, and collective action serves as a powerful call to create a more equitable and inclusive society. By continuing to learn, challenge biases, and actively work towards justice, we can contribute to the transformative process of societal change.