Author Archives: Pat Shelly, Univ. at Buffalo School of Social Work

Violence against AAPIs is a problem. So are exclusion and invisibility.

This was an email sent to our School listserv on Thursday 3/18. Shared here with Laina’s permission.

Subject: Violence against AAPIs* is a problem. So are exclusion and invisibility.
From: Laina Y. Bay-Cheng

*Asian American Pacific Islanders

For anyone who has been paying attention – or who feels personally vulnerable – Tuesday’s murders are acutely upsetting, but unsurprising. Given our nation’s history, there is never any “surprise” in violence against racialized minorities, especially the women (trans and cis) among us.

The intentionally escalated and unleashed violence and vitriol against Asians is not new. It also is not isolated from anti-Black violence and vitriol. Or anti-Indigenous. Or anti-Latinx. Or misogynist (which fuels homo- and transphobic hate). These are all interlocked cogs of a larger system of oppression. One turns another. My closest family and I are all different combinations of Chinese, Latinx/Indigenous, Black, biracial, immigrants, L, G, B, and T. There is no part of our lives that operated free and clear.

Graphic by Pat Shelly

This is a pervasive system, but the machinations of racist oppression are nevertheless tailored and crafted differently. A critical mechanism of anti-Asian oppression in the U.S. has been our exclusion and invisibility (the stark contrast to the relentless surveillance and forced visibility of African Americans is important to note). This is obviously and literally spelled out in the Chinese Exclusion Act. Today, it is equally obvious and literal in university policies that exclude Asians and Asian Americans from who “counts” – literally – as underrepresented. (Who among us really thinks a majority in number automatically translates into an equality of power? I daresay the state of women across the globe – and in our own communities – proves the absurdity of such a claim.) I see and feel this exclusion repeated when we are left out conversations about race and racism. Or when the question is asked – or allowed to hang in the air – whether Asians are really people of color.

Please consider being not only outraged by explicit acts of violence and vitriol against AAPIs, but also on guard against lenses that leave us out of your view.

Laina Y. Bay-Cheng, PhD, MSW, is Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

Social WOrk Futures: laura nissen Feb. 25, 2021 #MacroSW Twitter Chat

Pat Shelly

“The start to a better world is to believe that it is possible.” Lily Tomlin

I first heard Laura Nissen speak about futures thinking in 2018, during the annual meeting of the Council on Social Work Education. In a plenary session, she spoke of the potential of using a futures framework through which we can increase the scope of social work to address society’s challenges in the decades ahead. In 2021, the need for visualizing the challenges and complexities of a world addressing the dual pandemic ( COVID-19 coronavirus and structural racism) is self-evident. Social workers have the research, experience, and skills to help shape the future.

What is futures thinking?

The Two-Curve Framework
Source: Ian Morrison, Institute for the Future, 1996

“In futures thinking, if you’ve considered a whole range of possibilities, you’re kind of inoculating yourself [so that] if one of these possibilities comes about, you’re better prepared.” (Gorbis, 2019)

“Futures Thinking offers ways of addressing, even helping to shape, the future; it is not about gazing into a crystal ball. It illuminates the ways that policy, strategies and actions can promote desirable futures and help prevent those we consider undesirable. It stimulates strategic dialogue, widens our understanding of the possible, strengthens leadership, and informs decision-making.” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

In this chat, we’ll discuss how futures thinking is a necessary element of moving the profession of social work into a leadership position in considering possible futures. We must be at the table that is evaluating what would be the most positive future for groups, populations, and societies.

Laura Burney Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CADCIII, @LauraNissen, is a Former Dean and Professor at Portland State University School of Social Work. She is pioneer in developing a futures framework for social work, and has worked with futures practice and lenses throughout her career. Her Twitter profile: “Social Work Academic. Futures practitioner/Futurist. Artist. Macro AND micro. Focus areas: Futures/Foresight – Addictions – Art/Social Change – Equity.” Dr. Nissen’s blog, Social Work Futures, explores “how social workers can increase their impact through futures frameworks.”

Discussion Questions:

1.  What might it mean for social workers to be more “ready” for the future?

2.  How is YOUR PRACTICE likely to shift and become more complex in the future and what are good ways to grow and prepare?

3.  How do we build strategies for future readiness that stay essentially focused on equity and anti-racism?  

4. You are a social work practitioner and leader. Give an example of a new challenge in 10 years from now.


Futures Thinking Brief The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

How to think like a futurist (5 Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist) by Marina Gorbis

Futures, Power, and Privilege by Aarathi Krishnan

A Vision for the Future: 2020 Futures Series with Dr. Laura Nissen.
Three recorded webinars from The Network for Social Work Management

2021 Albany, washington D.C., United NaTions ~ Virtual Advocacy Days

by Pat Shelly updated Mar. 8, 2021

We’re pleased to announce these social work advocacy days for Spring 2021, all virtual, as we act to keep ourselves and our communities safe during COVID-19.
Dates: Washington DC: Wed. March 10th and Thu. March 11th via YouTube
NYC United Nations Headquarters Tue. March 16th plus Sun. March 14th for students via Zoom

(If you are a UBSSW member – student, faculty, alumni, staff – please let us know that you are participating in any of these events by emailing Pat Shelly
We like to know about your advocacy efforts!
Thank you.)




Washington D.C. Social Work Days on the Hill
CRISP – Congressional Research Institute on Social Work and Policy
[Virtual Events Live-streamed on YouTube & LinkedIn]

3. Wednesday, March 10, 2021

9 AM CRISP Policy and Politics Forum
“Social Work and the Future of Democracy”
No cost, but Registration required.
Dr. Charles E. Lewis, CRISP
Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, Former Congressman (Brooklyn) and social worker
Dr. Jason Ostrander, Moderator, Sacred Heart University
Hon. Chad Lassiter, Exec. Director, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Dr. Mimi Abramowitz, Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Work, Silberman School, Hunter College

10 AM Young Social Workers Speak Out on the Future of Democracy
A panel of social work students and recent graduates will give their
perspectives on the roles the social work profession should play in addressing threats to democracy and promoting an
agenda shaped by the challenges they will be facing in the future.

3 PM CRISP Annual Awards Presentation

4. Student Advocacy Day on the Hill (Virtual)
Thursday, March 11, 2021

Registration Fee: $25.
Four UBSSW students will have registrations costs covered; for details, contact
Pat Shelly

5. Social Work Day at the United Nations (2 parts, Mar. 14 1and Mar. 16)

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Student Conference: Opportunities through Adversities During COVID-19
Noon – 2 PM EST via Zoom

Register here – scroll down to find the date:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Responses to COVID-19: Standing Together Makes Us Stronger
Noon – 1:30 PM EST
via Zoom


37th Annual Social Work Day at the UN Description

Christina Behrendt, Ph.D., Head Social Policy Unit, Social Protection, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of the Advancement Project

Paul Ladd, Director of the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD)

Sponsored by:
The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)

The International Council on Social Welfare(ICSW)
Hosted by:
Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Monmouth University School of Social Work
Rutgers University School of Social Work

Did you attend any of the Advocacy Events on March 2, 10, 11, 14 or 16?
Please comment below with your highlights or takeaways from the event!

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