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Social Media Group formed to connect Black Male Social Workers

Group logo

Group logo

Being an African American male in the social work profession can be a little lonely.

More than eight out of 10 social workers are women, according to the Profile of the Social Work Workforce.  And more than half of new social work graduates in 2015 were white, the report said.

“There were just not that many males and when there were males they were normally white,” said André Marcel Harris, who plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina this year. “I guess I started to feel the underrepresentation of black males in social work when I attended national conferences.”

Harris, who was originally a communications major but switched to social work because he wanted to advocate for other people like himself who are living with sickle cell anemia, decided to create a social media group where black male social workers from all across the nation could come together.

Harris launched the Facebook group, Black Men in Social Work, in November 2017. It started with just a few of his classmates and professors — no more than 60 men. Within three months the number had grown to more than 300 people. Now, there are almost 700 in the group and Harris has expanded the group toTwitter and Instagram.

Forty to fifty members of the Facebook group are students and the rest are social work faculty or practitioners, Harris said. They all use the group for a variety of purposes — for research, to find an ideal graduate program, or to share information or offer mutual support.

André Marcel Harris

André Marcel Harris

Recent posts have included information about scholarship opportunities; a social worker looking for a therapist for his client in the New York City area; and an article about rising rates of suicide among people who are African American.

Harris says he wishes social work curriculum did a better job at including the experiences of people of color and in particular black males. This includes educating social workers more about the school to prison pipeline that some men who are black undergo.

He hopes his social media group will encourage more men who are black to consider social work as a profession and wants to perhaps build a relationship between his group and the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers.

“I think it satisfies a niche,” Harris said of his social media group. “It’s a sense of belonging – ‘Hey I’m a black guy and I’m a social worker.'”

 

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2 Comments

  1. I am a black man in the social work field who would love to connect with other black Male social workers to discuss some of the obstacles we face being black Male social workers

  2. I had no idea this existed. I will definitely share with male colleagues as well as my students. Very much needed, good work!

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