SSW: Racism & Social Justice

Celebrating Juneteenth

Dating back to 1865, the holiday commemorates the day when 250,000 slaves in the state of Texas, which became the last bastion for slavery during the final days of the Civil War, were declared free by the U.S. Army.

As soon as the following year, local festivities were organized in African American communities to celebrate and remember the significance of that day, June 19. The celebrations continued year after year.

In the 20th century, as African Americans from Texas and neighboring states spread throughout the country, so too did Juneteenth celebrations. In 1980, Texas became the first to make it a state holiday. Shortly thereafter, other states followed suit, along with organizations and businesses across the nation hosting events and educational opportunities dedicated to commemorating the significance of this day.

In 2021, the day became a national holiday.”

Source:  6/13/2023.  Matthew Cimitile. Juneteenth: The complicated history, significance and celebration around the struggle for freedomUniversity of South Florida

Resources Addressing Racism and Social Justice 

Position Statement

SSWAA:  Solidarity Statement Black Lives Matter.   Source: 6/1/2020. School Social Work Association of America.   NYSSSWA Signed on.

SSWAAs Racial Equity and Social Justice Resources

Articles & Resources:

SSWAA Racial Equity and Social Justice Resources


NYSSSWA has also compiled just a few resources.  Let us know of others we should share with school social workers.


8 Ethical Considerations for Responding to Social Injustice.  Source: 10/14/2020 NASW Updates.

Day After Election Guide.    “This Day After Election Guide provides resources and a plan for the day after the Presidential election and throughout the remaining school year to develop lesson plans, communications with parents, etc to “clearly establish and reinforce expectations about how to show respect for one another and how to explore controversial or difficult subjects.”   Source: Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Facing History.   “Facing History & Ourselves has become a global organization ….We help educators prepare students to participate in civic life—using intellect, empathy, ethics, and choice to stand up to bigotry and hate in their own lives, communities, and schools.”

NASP Guidance for Ensuring Student Well-Being in the Context of the Chauvin Trial.     Source:  4/20/2021.  NASP

Racial Justice in Education.   (80 pages)  Source:  National Education Association-Human & Civil Rights

Reflecting on George Floyd’s Death and Police Violence Towards Black Americans.   Source:  Facing History and Ourselves

The Forgotten Frontline Workers “School Social Workers Respond to Needs of Undocumented Immigrants” by Martha Rodriguez, LCSW  7/23/2020. School Social Work Association of America

SEL & Restorative Practices   Active site using current events for teachable moments.  Source:  Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Social Workers Cannot Be Silent: Statement & Call to Action Against Racism & Race-Based Violence     Source:  Arendt. V. 6/1/2020. NASW-North Carolina Chapter

What is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?    Source:  Sawchuck, S. 5/18/2021. Education Week  

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”  Source:  Frederick Douglass, 7/5/1852  Teaching American History


5 Tips to Help Districts Bridge the Equity Divide.  Written by the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools-Florida.  Source:  Runcie, R. 11/19/2020 ESchool News

6 Ways District Leaders Can Build Racial Equity.   Source:  Samuels, C., 6/18/2020, Education Week.  

A Guide to Equity and Anti-racism for Educators.  “Teachers shaken by recent events and wondering how to work for change in our society and schools can start with these lesson plans, videos, and other resources.”  Source:  Nichols, H. 6/5/2020, Edutopia

4 Ways to Make Your School Better for Black and Brown Teachers.    Source:  El-Mekki, Sharif. 1/3/2023.  Education Week. 

Creating a Culture of Equity:  What do Professional Ethics say about Racial Justice and Advocacy? by Dr. Leticia Villarreal Sosa 3/2/2021

Equity and SEL.    CASEL provides a framework on how implementing SEL also addresses Equity.  Source:  CASEL

Racial Equity and School Social Work.       Source:  Stone, S., 10/17/2017.  Psychology in the Schools

Addressing Racism

8 Ethical Considerations for Responding to Social Injustice.  Source: 10/14/2020 NASW Updates.

Anti-racism resources.   List of books, videos, podcasts, films, TV series and resources.  Source:   Flicker, S., & Klein, A., 5/2020

Racism and Violence:  How to Help Kids Handle the News.      Spanish.  Source:  Child Mind Institute

The “New Racism”  of K – 12 Schools:  Centering Critical Research on Racism.     Source:  Kohli, R., Pizzaro, M., & Nevarez, A.  March, 2017. Review of Research in Education.  Vol. 41, pp. 182-202

When Educators Understand Race and Racism.  Source:  Anderson, M. 11/24/2014  Teaching Tolerance

Conversation  Guides

16 Resources on Talking to Students About Police Killings and Racism.  Source:  Viadero, D. 4/16/2021.  Education Week

Four Ways George Floyd’s Murder Has Changed How We Talk About RaceSource:  Sawchuk, S. 4/21/2021.  Education Week

Guidelines for Discussing Incidents of Hate, Bias, and Discrimination.   Source:  University of Michigan, Center of Research on Learning and Teaching

Discussing the Derek Chauvin Trial in Class:  How Teachers Are Doing it and Why.    Source: Pendharkar, S.   4/20/2021. Education Week

Let’s Talk: Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students.     40 pages   Source: 2019.  Teaching Tolerance

“No, I Am Not OK.”  Thanks for Asking.    Source:  Lester, N., 6/16/2020 Teaching Tolerance

No, Elementary Students Are Not Too Young to Talk About Race.  Source: Kayser, Brian & Kayser, Abigail. 11/25/2020. ASCD Express

Talking With Students About Ferguson and RacismSource:  Melville, K. 12/2/2014 Teaching Tolerance

Talks to Help You Understand Racism in America.     Source:  TED talks

These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids.    Source:  Grose,  J.,  6/2/2020.  The New York Times

Teaching Children About Racism

Children’s Books Celebrating Native American & Indigenous Peoples .  Source:  A Mighty Girl

Children’s Books on Racial Discrimination.  Source:  A Mighty Girl

Classroom Resources- Teaching Tolerance.  Numerous resources available for use in schools and classrooms.  Source:  Teaching Tolerance 

Lessons for Early Childhood & Elementary Students.    Includes suggested  teaching ideas, teaching guides, films, stories, books,  for Early Childhood and Elementary School students    Source:  Teaching for Change

Lessons for Middle & High School Students   Includes suggested  teaching ideas, teaching guides, films, stories, books,  for Middle and High School students    Source:  Teaching for Change

Sesame Street: Best moments from CNN and Sesame Street’s town hall on racism for kids and parents.   Source:  Asmelash, L. 6/6/2020. CNN/Sesame Street

Teaching About Race, Racism, & Police Violence.   Provides articles, featured stories and numerous resources for classrooms.    Source:  Teaching Tolerance 

Teaching 6-Year-Olds About Privilege and Power.    Source:  Schwartz, K., 9/17/2019, Mind/Shift


#8 Can’t Wait

American Civil Liberties Union 

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter at Schools    Provides several resources and classroom activities to assist in talking about race.  Source:  National Education Association

Facing History and Ourselves:  Educator Resources 

Justice League NYC   “A multi-disciplinary task force of juvenile and criminal justice experts, artists, educators, direct service providers, activists, and formerly incarcerated individuals, brought together under the auspices of The Gathering for Justice, a social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte. Operating as a coalition, members conjoin their areas of expertise and resources in an intentional effort to reform the criminal and social justice system in New York City, California, and across the world.”

Latino Justice   “For more than 40 years Latino Justice has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout New York and beyond.”

National Immigration Law Center    “Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.”

Rethinking Schools

Southern Poverty Law Center 

Teaching Tolerance   “Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. These resources include classroom lessons, webinars, grants, podcasts, policy guides and much more. Educators use our materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.”

Black History Month

NYSSSWA has compiled several resources to assist you during Black History Month as well as the rest of the year.

26 Little-Known Black History Facts You May Not Have Learned In SchoolSource: Jean-Philippe, McKenzie.  1/25/2021 The Oprah Magazine

African American Heroes.   Source:  National Geographic Kids.

African American History Month.   “The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.”   Source:  National Archives.

Black History Month.   “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. ”  Source:  U.S. Government

Click Here for More Resources

(Collage made from public domain photos by Dot Kontak.)

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