Dear Students & Community Partners,
The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida stand united with those who are calling for justice and for real change in our society to condemn racism in all its forms. We denounce the hatred, discrimination and social injustices committed and tolerated within our society, recently highlighted by the death of George Floyd.
The core of our profession is rooted in social justice for all individuals. This includes ensuring that all people are safe, have basic human needs and rights, and that they are empowered to reach their maximum potential in living full, productive and healthy lives.
Our students seek a social work education because they have an innate calling to help others. We will continue to help our students serve and empower others, eradicate social injustice, and improve the lives of individuals and families. That is the force behind the social work profession—people who care about humankind.
In my 26 years as a social work educator at UCF, I have witnessed the important ways our students and graduates serve communities and society. They fight against racism, oppression, injustice, bias, and many other challenges. Many advocates have come before us and have blazed the trail with voices raised in opposition to social injustice; many of you are now those voices and many more will come after us.
Please join us in mourning the tragic death of George Floyd and others who lost their lives due to racism and hatred, but also stand with us as we continue to advocate for change. Let us harness our energies to break the cycle of these despicable acts against defenseless and vulnerable individuals, families, and communities. And let us not forget that there is still good in the world, that there are still people willing to help others and do the right thing. We all live together and what is done to one affects us all.
Ana M. Leon, PhD, LCSW
Interim Director, School of Social Work