Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change Podcast

Started in 2018, Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change features interviews with social workers, educators, activists, and others working for social change.

We amplify folks doing anti-racist, anti-oppressive, liberatory work. Racial, social, economic justice. Community-based. Powerful thinkers and action-takers. Engagement in praxis. We aim to elevate and provide counter-narratives to the dominant system. Learn together to enhance our practice.

All episodes have transcripts and are free to access. Use the search feature to look up a variety of topics ranging from community organizing to anti-oppressive mental health to policy advocacy to abolition of the family policing system (“child welfare”) to organizing to end the school-to-prison pipeline. We’ve also covered critical race theory and white supremacy in social work.

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E63 Constructing a White Nation: Social Work in the Americanization Movement – Yoosun Park, MSW, PhD
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Dr. Yoosun Park talks about her article, and upcoming book, co-authored with Michael Reisch, on the Americanization movement and social work’s role in it. The Americanization movement was a national project rooted in whiteness that aimed to define American identity, viewing European immigrants as Americanizable, and Indigenous Peoples, Africans, Asians, and Mexicans, as un-Americanizable and the Other. Dr. Park explains how white supremacist beliefs from this time continue to impact social work today.

E62 Paid Social Work Internships Part 2 FED UP – Beth Wagner, Claire Mancuso, Natalia Norzagaray & Parham Daghighi
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The episode features MSW students from the University of Texas – Austin who are part of FED UP, a group advocating for paid social work internships. They discuss the group’s creation, strategies, and principles, as well as the challenges and negative impacts of unpaid internships on student well-being. The episode also explores issues of equity in the social work profession and how it is devalued in society.

E61 Paid Social Work Internships Part 1 Payment 4 Placements – Matt Dargay, MSW & Arie Davey, LLMSW
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In this podcast episode, the co-founders of Payment 4 Placements discuss the issue of social work students being required to complete unpaid internships and the costs they incur. The group advocates for paid internships and has chapters across the U.S. The guests also share their experiences in organizing and offer strategies for addressing this issue and changing the current system.

E60 Understanding Antisemitism and Racism – Kohenet Shoshana A Brown, LMSW & Autumn Leonard
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Shoshana Brown and Autumn Leonard of the Black Jewish Liberation Collective and Jews for Economic & Racial Justice discuss antisemitism and racism as features of white supremacy. The guests share their work organizing to disrupt antisemitism and racism and provide a communal space for Black Jews. We need to address these hard topics and work towards building community to bring about change.

E59 Creating Culturally Safe Spaces for Indigenous Populations – Turquoise Skye Devereaux, MSW
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Turquoise Skye Devereaux, a member of the Salish and Blackfeet Tribes of Montana, discusses the harm caused by colonial systems and systemic racism and oppression in education and social work. She explains how cultural competency is a Westernized, colonial myth that does more harm than good, and highlights the differences between Indigenous and Westernized worldviews and ways of living. Turquoise provides examples of ways to create culturally safe spaces for Indigenous populations, drawing on her own experiences and interviews with Indigenous students, and emphasizes the importance of safety, equity, and inclusion.

E58 Organizing to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline – Jewel Patterson, MS; Edgar Ibarria; Nicole Bates, JD
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Jewel Patterson, Edgar Ibarria, and Nicole Bates discuss their work organizing to end the school-to-prison pipeline in California, which disproportionately affects Black and Brown students and families. They explain how criminalization functions in schools, the legal issues and strategies they use to challenge and change legislation, and their success in defunding school police 25 million dollars and reinvesting that money in a Black student achievement program. They also discuss their efforts to reimagine safety in schools and the importance of coalitions and movement lawyering in building power to create change.