VCU School of Social Work
Our Commitment to Social and Racial Justice
Dear SSW alumni,

The past two months at the School of Social Work have been a mix of celebration, solidarity and shared grief.

We honored and recognized the roles and contributions that Black Americans make to our history during Black History Month in February, with content posted across our social media accounts. We know, though, that our path as a school that fully embraces and embodies social and racial justice is not bound by a calendar. It will require a dedicated and continuous obligation of thought and action, policy and procedure, teaching and learning.

I’m enormously proud of the collective effort within our school over the past year to strengthen our resolve and capacity to address systemic racism in the school and our profession. We’re pleased to share news of these efforts in this newsletter.

Our faculty and staff have developed a Statement of Commitment to Social and Racial Justice, and many members of our school community have engaged in initiatives to address racism in our school culture and climate, our curriculum and our policies and practices.

There is a constant and never-ending continuum of racial injustice and targeted violence, most recently with the fatal shootings in Atlanta. These incidents reinforce the need for a bold stance and continued action. We understand the trauma and grief experienced by populations and communities that are continually under attack, and we hold space and stand with them in condemning these acts.

We also know that social workers are uniquely equipped to help colleagues, clients and others that you are connected with in your respective communities. I want to share two previously published resource lists, one centered on anti-Black racism and one on anti-Asian racism.

As we close out the last day of Social Work Month in March, I want to acknowledge with gratitude the hard and good work that you have always done — never more so than during a pandemic — and will continue to do. You are essential. Please also take a look back at our blog and social media for stories this month celebrating social work origins.


Beth Angell
Beth Angell, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
VCU School of Social Work

Six student fellows join school task force focused on racial justice and equity

Racial Justice Task Force Fellows
The students were selected for a new Radical Alliance for Anti-Racism, Change and Equity (RAACE) student fellowships as part of the school’s efforts to conduct a self-examination of oppression and anti-Blackness.
Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

As we honored pioneering social workers for BHM, we also celebrated Black Americans making a difference in our VCU community today. Black History in the Making, annual awards from VCU’s Department of African American Studies, featured six winners from the school:
  • Cieara Battle, M.S.W. student
  • Phyllis King Carr (B.S.W.’20/SW), M.S.W. student
  • Nicole Corley, Ph.D., assistant professor
  • Oscar Kemp, B.S.W. student
  • Jerica Thompson, B.S.W. student
  • Ruth Tiguh, B.S.W. student
Read more
Sara Van Tongeren

Social work alum honored for nondiscrimination advocacy in Michigan

Sara Van Tongeren (M.S.W.’08/SW), along with colleagues, received a social justice award after they persevered through a seven-hour city council meeting.
Angela Matijczak

Ph.D. candidate leads study asking: Can pets help LGBTQ+ people cope with microaggressions?

Angela Matijczak explores how social support from humans and comfort from companion animals can help LGBTQ+ young adults.
Kyeongmo Kim

Assistant professor Kyeongmo Kim’s latest research

He asks: Why are African Americans in counties with a high number of Black residents less likely to seek mental health care?
Alumni Spotlight

VCU SSW Alumni Spotlight nomination form

Do you know SSW alumni who are doing great things in their community? Submit them via the alumni spotlight nomination form.

To connect

For more than 100 years, the VCU School of Social Work has educated future generations of social work professionals in theory and practice. Sixty-nine percent of our alumni choose to stay in Virginia to live, work and practice. Connect with us and 10,000 alumni making a difference every day.

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