Anti-Racist Social Work: Transformative Change to Promote Climate Justice and Racial Equity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Meredith C.F. Powers, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: The Chinese philosopher, Confucius once said, “the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” In the context of the ongoing global climate crisis, and the recent global health pandemic due to COVID-19, we often speak of “risk factors’’ that put people at greater risk for harm and even death, but these should more specifically be called “factors of oppression.”1 When we name these factors of oppression, we recognize and validate their existence, and do not let the realities be relegated to mere buzzwords or euphemisms. Oppression is a constant reality of unrelenting, daily life struggle for equity and inclusion for many people, such as those who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, Trans, Immigrant, Gay, Jewish, and Muslim folx. Oppression isn’t transient, it has been intentionally ingrained into every sphere and system of our lives by an array of “ism’s” based on white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and reinforced by neo-liberalism and capitalism.2 Our work as social workers must disrupt these systems in order to truly transform the world. We are called to work that is anti-racist3; such work is the only way to create sustainable, structural changes that promote climate justice and racial equity.

Additional Information

NASNW-NC Newsletter, Autumn 2020, 12
Language: English
Date: 2020
social work, anti-racist work, North Carolina, environmental justice

Email this document to