Anti-Racism Practice Series

As Human Services professionals, we serve some of the most vulnerable children, youth, adults and families, and this requires that we be informed, willing and committed to “do the work” of becoming anti-racist in our work and our lives. Not being racist is not enough—we are being called to action to take a strong, sustained and active stance against racism in all its forms. “Doing the work” includes the internal work on our own biases and complicity with systems that create and sustain inequality, as well as the work at an agency and system level to understand and undo structures that have led to inequity and disparate impact for children, youth, families and adults who are people of color.

Session 1: Foundational

Racism has existed throughout human history. It has produced wars, slavery, the creation of nations, and legal codes. As Human Services professionals, we have an ethical duty to become actively anti-racist in our work in order to best serve vulnerable children, youth, adults and families. This session will discuss historical and current events and definitions related to racism. Participants will explore resources for using multivalent methods to gain a foundational understanding of the nature, causes, and costs of present-day racism, racial discrimination, and racial inequality.

Learning Objectives

  • Define and review terminology related to racism
  • Examine historical and current events to understand how racism operates today
  • Identify resources to support anti-racist practice

Session 2: Disproportionality and Systemic Racism

As Human Services professionals, we must collectively address disproportionality of people of color in all our Human Services systems. “Disproportionality” refers to the percentage of people in a particular racial or ethnic group in the general population compared to the percentage of people in that group who experience a specific event, such as entry into foster care, lack of reunification after child separation, involvement with juvenile probation, or incarceration. Both individual factors (i.e., implicit bias) and structural factors (i.e., systemic racism) play a role in disproportionality in Human Services systems. Systemic racism refers to structures, policies and institutions that have procedures or processes that disadvantage people of color. This session will explore how disproportionality and systemic racism show up in Human Services systems and strategies for changing this.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the history of systemic racism in the United States in key areas that impact families who interface with Human Services systems
  • Explain how current examples of systemic racism affect children/youth, adults and families of color
  • Understand disproportionality in Child Welfare and disparate outcomes for children/youth of color
  • Value the creation of equitable Human Services systems

Session 3: Implicit Bias and Microaggressions

As Human Services professionals, it is vital that we have an awareness of how implicit bias can show up for us in order to work to mitigate the impact of these biases on the children, youth, families and adults we serve. This session will provide effective approaches to overcome them to increase the success of their work as a helping professional.

Learning Objectives

  • Define implicit biases and racial microaggressions and examine who they impact
  • Build awareness of implicit biases and racial microaggressions in order to take meaningful steps to overcome them
  • Understand and define micro-resistance
  • Improve practices to minimize the impact of bias in our work as helping professionals

Session 4: Allyship

Allyship is an active, consistent, and ongoing practice in which a person holding systemic power seeks to end oppression in solidarity with a group of people who are systemically disempowered. Allyship emphasizes social justice, inclusion, and human rights by recognizing the experiences of privileged and oppressed groups and acknowledging that an individual can have identities of both privilege and oppression simultaneously. Allyship is a lifelong process that requires awareness of privilege, consistent action, and taking on the struggle for equity and justice as one’s own. This session will address the definition of allyship and what it means to be an ally against racism in a Human Services profession.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the definition of privilege and what it means to have multiple identities
  • Value the importance of being an ally to individuals who are disadvantaged due to race/ethnicity in order to create a just and equitable society
  • Understand what it means to be an ally
  • Learn what it takes to fulfill the duties of allyship and develop a plan for action
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