Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers in New York State (NASW-NYS), Dr. Samantha Fletcher, has a PhD in social work and is a passionate advocate for ethical social work practice. Samantha argues that racial disparities are permeating almost every aspect of our society. Her even-handed response calls for education, personal responsibility, and having enough humility to be wrong.
The social work profession was built on generalist practice. This approach gives social workers a perspective that is unique to the field: an eye for injustice that impacts social systems at the micro (person-to-person), mezzo (organization, group, and community), or macro (society at large) levels. Social workers have a distinct interpretation of social issues because of their role flexibility; and in Samantha’s view, justice is best achieved when all of these factors are considered.
In her leadership position, Samantha oversees 10,000 clinicians who are grappling with their own reactions, biases, and professional responses as they process the racial reckoning that’s taking place around the United States. As a parent of a multi-cultural family, Samantha has witnessed racial injustice personally; she shares that she’s watched her children bear the burden of systemic racism and grapple with the unequal rules applied to minorities.
Samantha recommends a simple starting point to change the narrative: surround yourself with a mixed cultural community who can be your teachers. This type of exposure instructs the majority culture to embrace their privilege, demonstrates why the sanctity of a person’s lived experience should be respected, and offers a new perspective via empathetic connection. Through her Racial Justice Forum, which is free to NASW-NYS members, tough conversations are placed in the spotlight for reflective discussion. Samantha wants attendees to remember that despite the biases we all carry, the goal should be to move forward.
How NASW-NYS Keeps You Moving
- Join their telehealth webinar series to understand the fine print behind telemental health practice.
- Stay current on state and federal policies that make telehealth possible.
- Find out how pay parity for telehealth services could affect your income.
- Be a part of the conversation and partake in the NASW-NYS Racial Justice Forum.
- Develop your passion alongside thousands of career-minded social workers.
With a life-long interest in social activism, and a PhD dissertation to back it up, Samantha hopes that you will join her in bringing damaged communities back together. She suggests using your passion as a spark for advocacy. No matter who you are, or what you do in life, you have the means within you to enact change. If you missed the Telehealth Certification Institute’s FREE Racial Justice and Community Restoration live webinar, attended by over 1,000 clinicians, you can join our TeleMental Health Provider Facebook page to stay current on upcoming opportunities. If you live or practice in New York, visit the NASW-NYS chapter page to learn about your local social work community.