Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is an author, activist, and scholar who visited UNC earlier this year as the 2016 MLK Celebration Keynote Speaker. Last week, he visited another local university to discuss Black Lives Matter, the upcoming film Birth of a Nation, and the role of public intellectuals today. Dr. Hill recently released his latest book: Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. During the meeting last week, he spoke on the notion of “nobodyness” and the politics of disposability within vulnerable populations. Several other key notes included the criminalization of mental illness, responses to state violence, over-policing in America, and the continued economic oppression that results from the U.S. class system.
As I reflected on the experiences and new knowledge presented by Dr. Hill, it reminded me of the role of social workers and commitment we have to promote social justice and actively speak out against injustice at all levels. I continue to see ways in which morality and ethical codes have a major impact on the social work profession as a whole, individual social work practice, and community advocacy. Regardless of macro or micro focus, social work calls for one to be aware of societal issues and systemic injustice in order to uphold cultural competency and cultural humility.