Awakening the Antiracism Collective Through Transformative Organizational Praxis

A Participatory Evaluative Case Study


  • Jelena Todić University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Sherri Simmons-Horton University of New Hampshire
  • Elizabeth Cruz
  • Amy Manning-Thompson
  • M. Candace Christensen
  • Lucinda Nevarez



antiracism, community organizing, collective, Social Work Grand Challenges


Dismantling structures that impede social work professional and organizational growth begins with social work educational institutions. In 2020, the convergence of three pandemics – COVID-19, economic injustice, and, notably, structural racism, catalyzed a group of social work staff and faculty at a public Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the Southern U.S. The group relied on community organizing and organizational change strategies to form the antiracism collective (ARC). We employed a participatory evaluative case study (Merriam, 1998) methodology to answer two questions: 1) How has ARC accelerated one social work department's integration of antiracist praxis (theory, reflection, action) into all aspects of the department to support the department's mission?; and 2) How can ARC dismantle structures which impede social workers' ability to confront racism? We find that ARC 1) catalyzed department transformation as evidenced by the increased sense of critical consciousness, struggle, integrity, and community; and 2) achieved primarily individual impact, with small but potentially significant department impact, and small but potentially significant structural impact. We highlight strengths and limitations of antiracism collectives as a pathway to confront racism in other social work educational institutions.


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