By Shreya Gupta
We recently had the opportunity to speak with MSW student Simone Jarvis about her involvement with the newly-emerged Black Lives Matter Social Work Student Caucus (BLMSWSC) at Rutgers School of Social Work. BLMSWSC is a student-led group that is striving towards racial justice for the African American community through anti-racism efforts.
Despite being a single mother and holding a full-time job, Simone Jarvis is earning her MSW through Rutgers School of Social Work's Intensive Weekend program.
Jarvis was drawn to the field of social work by her current employer, which advocates for children in the foster care system. Disheartened by seeing the disproportionately large number of children of color being represented in the system, as well as the bias that exists against them, she is pursuing her MSW to bring equitable assistance to this particularly vulnerable population.
Deeply committed to anti-racism efforts, Jarvis believes the field of social work has a responsibility to recognize the racist policies that are so deeply ingrained in our society. So, she decided to join the BLMSWSC at the School of Social Work to help spur discussions on how to reconstruct these policies. One of the BLMSWSC's initial efforts was creating a petition to the NASW that calls for the organization to publicly acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement. "I want people to understand that the Black Lives Matter movement does not have any political affiliations. It is a statement of humanity that needs to be respected," Jarvis says.
Since the BLMSWSC does not have formal positions, all members have an equal voice in the organization's decisions. Jarvis is actively involved with the group and takes on extra responsibility, even with her plate already full, by running the caucus' Twitter account.
"The Rutgers School of Social Work community can support the BLMSWSC's efforts by attending our weekly meetings on Fridays, spreading awareness about our work, learning about the discriminatory nature of anti-Black policies, and signing our petition to the NASW. Every signature counts!" Jarvis notes.
You can support the BLMSWSC's efforts by signing their petition to NASW.