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Friday, March 31, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Feminist writer talks social work at virtual event

Feminist writer guest speaker talks social work Savannah Smithson/The Cougar

Savannah Smithson/The Cougar

The Graduate College of Social Work hosted a virtual event as part of the Eyes on Abolition series on March 31 to speak about social work, abolition and the welfare system. 

Feminist writer, public speaker and community activist Feminista Jones answered questions about mental health and the experiences that families go through. 

“We wanted to provide our students and community with the opportunity to have conversations about challenging systems and reimagining ways to achieve justice and liberation, while exploring abolition as a vision, abolition as a practice and abolition as a critical framework to bring about change,” said director of communications Connease Warren.

The event was introduced by dean of the GCSW Alan Dettlaff. The discussion was moderated by UH assistant professor Quenette Walton. 

Jones and Walton had a conversation about important topics and answered questions submitted by the students and community. Dettlaff came in at the end to close out the conversation. 

“Our speakers are selected based on the theme for each event. For our focus on abolition for the 2020-2021 academic year, we invited speakers with the knowledge and experiences to propel the conversation forward,” Warren said.

Jones spoke on issues in the foster care system, welfare system and how teachers and social workers can make solutions to create change. She also discussed the flaws of capitalism and white supremacy.

The event streamed on Facebook and YouTube. An archive of past recordings are provided on the GCSW website to view. Due to the pandemic, the events have been virtual, but it does not stop the conversation.

“We launched our first virtual event in Oct. 2020 after spending much of the summer researching several platforms and retro-fitting what our community has come to expect from GCSW events,” Warren said.

“It was important to us to continue our offerings virtually in spite of, and even especially because of the pandemic.”

The event started a discussion and got the conversation going about abolition and subjects that many people may not know about. The purpose of the event is to start conversations among students and the community, Warren said.

“The series includes vital voices and perspectives that provide a more complete understanding of what abolition is and what it isn’t,” Warren said.

The last event in the Eyes on Abolition series streams on April 27 which explores “Felon: Poems” by Reginald Dwayne Betts.

“The award-winning author, poet, lawyer and advocate for criminal justice reform will join us to present an excerpt of the solo show he is developing based on ‘Felon’,” Warren said.

“The work engages with the contemporary moment, mass incarceration and the challenges of having a complicated conversation about crime, punishment and sorrow in America.”

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