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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This section of the website is still being developed. Please go to https://dointhework.podbean.com/ to access episodes 1–57.

E66 Operation Stop CPS – Amanda Wallace, BSW
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Amanda Wallace, Founder and Executive Director of Operation Stop CPS, discusses the surveillance and regulation of families, particularly Black families, within the child protection system. Having worked in child protective services for a decade, Amanda realized the harm being inflicted on children and families, leading her to advocate for change. Operation Stop CPS intervenes to assist families affected by the system, including those who have had their children taken away, emphasizing the system’s connection to historical and present-day anti-Black racism while aiming to build a movement to end family policing through education, advocacy, and support.

E65 Liberation Health Model – Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW
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Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion at Boston University School of Social Work, discusses the Liberation Health Model she co-created. Using examples, she explains how the model employs a sociopolitical framework to assess the root causes of people’s problems and offers intervention techniques for improving their lives. Dr. Martinez shares the model’s fascinating history, which originated in collaboration with patients and families in a hospital psych unit and draws inspiration from Brazilian mental health practices, radical counseling and social work, Black feminism, and Marxist theory.

E64 Liberatory Lawyering to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline – Ashleigh Washington, JD & Ruth Cusick, JD
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Ashleigh Washington and Ruth Cusick, co-founders of The Collective for Liberatory Lawyering (C4LL), discuss their work as movement lawyers to end the school-to-prison pipeline. They emphasize the need for legal strategies and organizing models to be used together to improve the material conditions for Black, Indigenous, disabled, and other marginalized students and families. They also introduce their new interdisciplinary practice approach, Barefoot Lawyering, and touch on the progress of LA Police Free Schools.

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.

E57 Race Doesn’t Exist Without Racism – Deadric Williams, PhD
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Dr. Deadric Williams, Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, discusses the relationship between racism, race, and racialization. He explains that the concept of race emerges from racism, not the other way around, and that racism combines ideology and structural elements like laws and policies to maintain hierarchical dominance of White individuals while oppressing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Dr. Williams highlights how the classification of humans by race served to justify colonialism and slavery, benefiting White people both materially and psychologically. He emphasizes the need for a clear understanding of this process to effectively address racial inequities in the United States.