STATEMENT: Black Lives Matter

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom

It is our duty to win

We must love and protect each other

We have nothing to lose but our chains”

Assata Shakur

The Social Work Action Network International (SWAN-I), a coalition of social work organizations and activists across the globe, stands in solidarity with our social work colleagues in the United States and with protesters all over the globe who are fighting against institutional racism and police brutality and for a better world.

As a value-based profession, we are horrified at the events over the last two weeks; from the execution of George Floyd, an unarmed black man by Minneapolis police officers, to the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery by racists in Georgia.  Yet these tragedies were completely predictable.  They are the inevitable consequences of institutional racism whose roots go back to founding of the United States. 

Institutional racism is responsible for Breonna Taylors’ murder in her own home by Louisville police and for a black man being reported to the cops for daring to challenge a white woman while birdwatching in Central Park New York.  Our system of racial capitalism causes African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans to die of Covid–19 at much higher rates than whites, experience greater levels of poverty, and increased risk of housing evictions. 

These systems of oppression are worldwide; from Brazil, to Chile, to Palestine. Yet worldwide, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and imperialism are being unmasked by a new global movement which is standing in solidarity with the victims of institutional racism and insisting that Black Lives Matter. Frederick Douglass an African American Abolitionist, said “Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never has and it never will.”   We demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and all the other victims of police violence. 

 SWAN-I supports all individuals and communities calling for an end to systemic racism. We support efforts around the world that are working to promote alternative systems that takes care of our multiracial communities and planet. We believe that while there is no single model for radical social work, social work must be an unashamedly political project.  Most private troubles have political and social causes arising from the neoliberal model of capitalism and racism, individualism, sexism and homophobia that it produces. This is true whether they are experienced individually through depression or anxiety, or collectively through police violence and substandard housing.  For this reason, social work must be part of the multiracial movement for social transformation and human liberation.  Another world is possible, another social work is possible!

To join SWAN-I, contact us at

Join Swan Now

We want to develop a network of service users, practicitioners, academics and students to support radical and progressive social work. We need a social work that is ready to challenge oppressive practice, that means working collectively across the country and internationally to advance Social Work.