In an open letter Aug. 14 to the SSW community, Dean Richard Barth, PhD, denounced the hatred that led to deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12. Here is the text of his letter:
Dear SSW Community,
I wanted to follow UMB President Perman’s expression of outrage and call to action, with one of my own about the violence perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators in Charlottesville, this weekend, as a consequence of racism, domestic terrorism, and hate-filled white supremacist and Neo-Nazi ideology.
This pre-meditated violence is shocking and runs completely counter to our School’s shared commitment to the fundamental values of mutual respect and inclusion. These disturbing and disheartening events demonstrate that our work as social workers and concerned citizens--to protect hard won civil rights and achieve greater social justice--is never-ending and more important now than ever.
I am proud of the work we do and look forward to my next chance to tout the work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to strengthen society. Today my thoughts and prayers are with those in Charlottesville most directly affected by these acts of terror, and to all of you connected with the School of Social Work community who are also deeply upset by these tragic events. Please know that the following resources are available. Please know helpful resources are available online at the School’s SSW Responds web site (https://www.sswresponds.info/resources).
I know that you join me in efforts to push forward and engage in the hard work to achieve a far more just, anti-racist, and equal society—one that protects the right to march and speak freely without intimidation on behalf of these shared goals.
Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW
Dean and Past-President of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
University of Maryland School of Social Work