The Social Justice Committee
The Social Justice Committee at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare is committed to raising awareness regarding social justice issues that affect students, individuals, families, and communities throughout the greater Milwaukee area as well as nationally and internationally. We are committed to creating a school environment that is diverse, inclusive, equitable, and values the worth of faculty, students, and community members.
The purpose of the Social Justice Committee is to maximize opportunities to educate students about ideas, theories, methods, and interventions related to social justice and how to translate that knowledge into ethical practices for solving social inequities. We also are dedicated to creating programs and opportunities for faculty, students, and community members to learn about and discuss social justice issues related to environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges.
The committee’s vision is that students educated in our social work program will leave the BSW, MSW, and doctoral program equipped to recognize inequities and injustice, facilitate the building of safe, equitable, sustainable, and non-discriminatory practices that will lead to healthier, inclusive communities, and to help, advocate, support, and partner with individuals, groups, and communities who have been denied adequate opportunities to fully realize their potential.
Life After Life – Film Screening and Panel Discussion
March 25, 2019
Life After Life follows the stories of Harrison, Noel, and Chris as they return home from San Quentin State Prison. After spending most of their lives incarcerated, they are forced to reconcile their perception of themselves with a reality they are unprepared for.
Each struggles to overcome personal demons and reconstruct their fractured lives. Grappling with day-to-day challenges and striving for success, they work to reconnect with family and provide for themselves for the first time in their adult lives.
Told in an unadorned verite style, we experience the truth of their heartaches and triumphs. As their stories unfold over weeks, months and years, the precarious nature of freedom after incarceration in America is revealed.
Leading Change: Women, Politics, Advocacy, & Social Justice
February 27, 2018
Women’s voices are largely missing from the executive branches of governments and parliaments worldwide. This social justice event explored women’s role in politics and why women are needed now more than ever in the political arena.
Creator of Sister Giant and the Love America tour, Marianne Williamson will discuss how a revolution in consciousness is needed to pave the way to both personal and national renewal. Marianne will teach us how to create whole-person politics and break free from a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world.
In 2018, Marianne is launching a national tour called the Love America Campaign during which she’ll be articulating an evolutionary wave of new possibility as principles of higher consciousness are brought to bear on our politics.
Dr. Joan M. Prince
Vice Chancellor, Global Inclusion & Engagement
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- On September 12, 2012, Dr. Joan M. Prince was nominated by President Barack Obama to the key administrative post of Alternate Representative to the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, with the honorary rank of Ambassador. This diplomatic position also maintains an appointment as a Senior Advisor to the State Department and Public Delegate. Her roles and responsibilities included serving as a United States representative to UN committees and related organizations such as ECOSOC, UN Women, UNESCO, and UNICEF, delivering statements on US policy, and engaging other diplomats and advisors in discussions focusing on global issues.She also served as a member of the 2013 United States Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), appointed by Secretary John Kerry and Ambassador Susan E. Rice.
Statewide LGBTQ Anti-Violence Manager for Diverse & Resilient’s Room to be Safe Program
- Kathy began her career at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in 1993 focused on diversity and inclusion. Realizing her heart and passion were rooted within community advocacy and activism, Kathy left Kimberly-Clark to begin full-time work as an advocate within racial justice, LGBTQ, and domestic violence movements and eventually within government as the City of Appleton’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.Kathy currently serves as the statewide LGBTQ Anti-Violence Manager for Diverse & Resilient’s Room to Be Safe Program. She currently serves on the Governance Committee Board of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and the board of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin. Kathy identifies as a Queer Latinx person with a disability trying to make movements and spaces more accessible for all. She recently gave a workshop at the Northeast Wisconsin Women’s March titled “Queer & POC Identities: How White Feminism Leaves Us Behind.”
Dr. Susan J. Rose
Professor, Social Work
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- As part of her commitment to public service as a practicing social worker, Dr. Rose served as an Alderman in the City of Elmhurst, Illinois from 1991-2011. She was elected to five consecutive terms on the City Council, the longest serving alderman in the city’s history. In 2009, she ran for mayor, one of only four women to run for this office. She then served as the President of the Elmhurst League of Women Voters from 2012-2014. She was appointed to the Elmhurst Zoning and Planning Commission in 2014 and appointed Chair of the Commission in 2017. Dr. Rose also worked as an advocate for various social work agencies before receiving her doctorate in social work in 1990. She has published professional articles, urging social workers to run for public office and has served as a mentor for other women in local political office.
Activist and UWM student
- Annia Leonard has helped organize marches and rallies in Milwaukee, including: Black Women’s Empowerment March, the Women’s March, and Solidarity with Selma Bloody Sunday March. A graduate of Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, Annia is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from UWM to teach social studies. She works at Woodlands School as a teacher’s assistant.
Social Work Macro Practice and MILWAUKEE 53206
April 19, 2017
This event was sponsored by former students and colleagues of Dr. Deborah Padgett, chair of the Social Work Department from 2003-2016 and advocate for macro social work education.
Barbara Bigler (MSW 1996, BSW 1982) generously sponsored the event.
What can I do to make a difference?
Build the safety net of support for children and families of those who are incarcerated.
Promote the destigmatization of incarceration.
Build empathy and awareness for communities who have been disproportionately targeted under U.S. policies of mass incarceration and empower far-reaching reform.
Call on the faith community to be a central force in reforming local, regional and national mass incarceration policies.
An important part of being a social justice activist is building personal relationships with people who are less privileged than you are. People whose activism primarily takes this approach empathize deeply for the ways in which injustices affect people at an individual level.
- Serve as an ally or advocate to individuals who are the subject of discrimination or unfair treatment;
- Advocate for individuals and groups through signing online petitions, emailing and phoning public officials;
- Share the advocacy effort with your friends through social networking;
- Vote for candidates who support social justice;
- Join political organizations whose focus is to promote social justice for all through the support of political candidates, hold elected officials accountable, organize to get people to vote, and share accurate information about important social issues with the media;
- Run for office;
- Join organizations with a social justice focus and sign up for their email communications to stay abreast of the issues and organizational initiatives;
- Attend local meetings about social justice issues;
- Use social media to share accurate information about important social justice issues with friends, family and colleagues.
One way we can contribute to social justice movements is by donating money or other goods to community organizations with goals related to the following:
- strengthening children, youth, and families
- criminal justice reform
- community reentry following incarceration
Talk to your neighbors, friends and family; share accurate information and disclose your sources. Social Justice goals can only be achieved through the collective efforts of concerned individuals like yourself. Please become a part of this movement as together we can and will accomplish remarkable things!
Opportunities to work for social justice through service and volunteerism are endless. You can locate community agencies through 211, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Internet searches, and Volunteer Milwaukee http://www.volunteermilwaukee.org/.
Educating yourself on the topic:
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Watch “13th,” available on Netflix and directed by Ava DuVernay
Informing yourself through reliable news sources such as:
Other opportunities to get involved:
- A New Approach to Helping Men of Color Heal After a Violent Incident
- ‘Milwaukee 53206′ and Mass Incarceration: This is Not a Unique Story. It’s a Quiet Story.’
- Cutting WI’s High Black Male Incarceration Rate: Progress, But a Long Way to Go
- Former Milwaukee Inmates: ‘I Am More Than My Record’
- Wisconsin Lawmakers Will Consider Alternatives to Prison For Non-Violent Offenders
- Forum: Numerous Changes Needed, if Wisconsin is to Reduce Black Male Incarceration
- March 6, 2020: The Impact of Immigration on Service Delivery
- Canceled – April 6, 2020: Intersection Between Homeless, Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
- Contact for more information: