#MacroSW Chat April 9th 9:00pm EST Norfolk State University and University of Oklahoma

On April 9th from 9-10PM EST, social work students from Norfolk State University and the University of Oklahoma will be engaging in a Twitter dialogue about privilege, difference, and justice in the context of community organizing and activism. The Twitter chat will be facilitated by the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) @acosaorg, along with guest facilitators, Dr. Shane Brady, MSW, PhD, long time community organizer and current professor of social work at the University of Oklahoma and Dr. Jason M. Sawyer, MSW, PhD, community organizer and professor at Norfolk State University School of Social Work.This Twitter dialogue welcomes the participation and contributions from social workers, students, academics, activists, and allies from around the world.

#MacroSW Shout Outs

#MacroSW chats takes place on Twitter on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The chat is a collaboration between the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) @acosaorg, The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM) @TheNSWM, USC School of Social Work @MSWatUSC, the University at Buffalo School of Social Work @UBSSW, Karen Zgoda @karenzgoda, and Sunya Folayan @SunyaFolayan.Background The frame for this discussion will be set through the watching of two best practice case studies in community organizing; Holding Ground and Gaining Ground, the story of the Dudley Street Initiative. While these films will provide some context for how grass roots community organizing and activism can lead to social change, dialogue in this chat will focus on recent events from Ferguson to #SAEHatesMe to anti LGBTQ bills, all of which have led to local and student led activism and community organizing.

How to Participate

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to connect with social work students, educators and practitioners from around the world. To participate: Watch the documentaries Holding Ground and Gaining Ground: The Story of the Dudley Street Initiative, if possible. Many university libraries have these films available or trailers can be found for them on YouTube and other related sites. As you watch the film, take a few moments to consider current issues impacting your community and communities around the U.S. and world. Think about how difference between groups of people leads to and/or perpetuates injustice as well as slows community organizing and social change. Also think about the lessons learned from Dudley Street or from other successful grass roots organizing and activist efforts that you may be familiar with. What made them so successful? How did they address difference? and What lessons learned can we take away from these efforts? Finally, what is the role of social work in grassroots organizing and social action? Participate in the live Twitter chat using the hashtag #MacroSW. Tweet any questions or responses directed to the moderator @Dr_Pracademic and/or @Dr_PraxisAlly and include #MacroSW in all of your tweets.

Values and Principles for Anti-Oppressive Dialogue Adapted from Fithian

The purpose of this Twitter chat is to challenge our own thinking and to learn from one another within the context of a virtual space. In order to promote safety, respect, and mutual learning in this space, we ask that participants read over these suggested values and principles for Anti-Oppressive Intergroup Dialogue, which are grounded in the literature of positive peace, anti-oppressive community organizing, and intergroup dialogue.

1. Power and privilege can be destructive to group processes. Privilege, like power can be used for positive purposes but should be used with awareness and care.

2. Approach dialogues with cultural humility, since none of us can truly be experts about the experiences of another race, gender, religion, culture, social class, sexual orientation, or other positionally nor do we understand their experiences.

3. We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, ableism, adultism, and other forms of oppression are perpetuated by both people and systems, beginning with ourselves.

4. Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice.
5. Given that some dialogues may take place in virtual spaces, be extra mindful and considerate of how your responses and statements may be received by others who have never met you, cannot see your body language, and cannot hear your tone.
6. Dialogue is preferred over debate in the context of intergroup learning. The goal of a debate is often to one up someone, which can harm relationships and divide groups. On the contrary, the goal of a dialogue is to gain understanding about alternative perspectives and ideas.
7. Conflict is often unavoidable and on its own is not unhealthy, it’s how you facilitate and handle conflict that will determine if it is beneficial or detrimental to the dialogue.
8. Being called out can often be a gift to be embraced, be open to it; however, before calling people in can also be an effective strategy for identifying a challenging behavior or idea shared by another person in a group setting, and addressing it in a less threatening way for the purpose of helping the individual learn, and also acknowledging that ALL OF US make mistakes from time to time.
9. Keep an open mind. While it may seem simple, if you are unwilling to challenge your own thinking, beliefs, views, and values, I am not certain that a dialogue will benefit you much.
10. Hate Speech of any kind has no place in a dialogue space.
The following questions will be used to facilitate this dialogue:
  1. What are the most pressing issues impacting your community (Similar or Different from the issues impacting Dudley Street)?
  2. How do you see and/or experience difference in your community?
  3. Given recent events in Ferguson, NYC, Berkley, Oklahoma, and around the country, how do we effectively address difference in communities and in practice?
  4. What lessons, if any, do you take away from successful social action, practice, organizing efforts such as Dudley Street, #BlackLivesMatter, #OU_Unheard, Arab Spring, and others?
  5. Given the close knit ties of social work to federal, state, and local government agencies and funding streams, can we as a profession effectively and adequately promote grassroots organizing, social work practice across difference, and activism for social change, why or why not?
  6. Does social media and technology help or hinder dialogue and addressing difference in community organizing?

Additional Resources Dudley Street Initiative Website: http://www.dsni.org University of Michigan Program on Intergroup Relations: http://igr.umich.edu Teaching Tolerance website run by Southern Poverty Law Center:http://www.tolerance.org Community Toolbox by University of Kansas, resources on holding dialogues in communities: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/search/node/dialogue Anti-Oppressive community organizing resources by Lisa Fithian: http://organizingforpower.org/anti-oppression-

Many Thanks Everyone – shane and Jason

resources-exercises/ We look forward to hearing your voice and insights on April 9th!! – shane and Jason

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