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May 2022 Educator|Resource of the Month

The Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice Educator|Resource is a monthly feature that highlights curricular resources and social work educators who address diversity and justice.
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Racialized Trauma and Healing:

Latinx Social Workers Share Their Stories 

In “Finding Well-being and Black Joy When the World Is on Fire,” Erica Chidi reminds us that taking refuge is part of taking action. “Taking refuge means rest,” she says, and “rest is its own form of resistance.” Chidi’s words speak to this month’s topic in our series on teaching from an antiracist perspective: seeking healing from racialized trauma. Healing involves restoring inward calm and steadiness; it involves grounding and centering. Recently I was introduced to an exercise that invites us to imagine a tree—whose roots embody grounding, its trunk centeredness, and its branches resourcefulness (see the textbox below for the full exercise). According to Becky Murillo, who is a licensed clinical social worker and somatic practitioner and who guided the exercise, we can anchor ourselves in our ancestors and supports, center our passions and worth, and connect with our creativity and purpose. Drawing from the resources below, students can find inspiration in the stories of Latinx social workers who, in the face of racialized trauma, have experienced this transformational process, finding healing and reclaiming their deep wisdom and strength.

Teaching Resources: Personal Stories, Videos, and Books

A Latina at a "Lightly Melanated" University Embarks on a Journey of Healing

School Social Work l Sharing My WHY + Latina College Experience (Video 6:27)

In this video, licensed clinical social worker Lauren Gutierrez shares her story of being on her own as a Latina at a “lightly melanated” university, hoping she would survive the journey. “I knew I needed to do this not only for me but for my future. I was first generation, so there was a lot riding on this. I had to prove that this was possible,” she says. “I did know that the odds were stacked up against me.” 

Social Work Scrapbook YouTube Channel

See related videos in Lauren’s Social Work Scrapbook YouTube channel, which she dedicates to “helping social workers get hired + bring change.” 

Stories by Latinx Social Workers That Heal, Inspire, and Connect Communities

Latinx in Social Work Telling Their Stories and Book Launch, 2021 (Video 1:45) 

In this powerful video, more than 20 Latinx practitioners, entrepreneurs, and leaders in social work share what it means to them to share their narratives of racialized trauma, resistance, and healing in the contexts of their professional lives. The video brings together the authors whose stories are contained in the new book Latinx in Social Work: Stories That Heal, Inspire, and Connect Communities by licensed clinical social worker Erica Priscilla Sandoval. 

Laura Quiros, PhD, LMSW, associate professor of social work at Adelphi University and DEI consultant, who is featured in the video (and book), talks about why it’s essential to our healing that we share our narratives. 

This book is a “positive disruption” of traditional social work practice, where we use ourselves and we use our narratives to tell our stories to heal, to uplift, to give voice to women who have not been given voice traditionally. . . . Many of us hold intergenerational trauma. So how do we break that cycle so we can share our voice, we can share our space, we can share our love, our music, our culture with other people to do the same? Our mission is grounded in social justice. It’s not a chapter in a book, it's not a piece on cultural competency, but it is an embodiment of who we are and how we live. (Video 1:09)  


You can read the full social work stories in Latinx in Social Work: Stories That Heal, Inspire, and Connect Communities. The book is also available in Spanish, Latinx en el Área de Trabajo Social (scroll down the page, below the English version of the book). 


Grounding and Centering Ourselves  
ROOTS: Make contact with the floor with your feet (or your seat, if you’re sitting down). Feel your connection to the ground. Imagine the sensations of connecting with your roots like a tree: your past experiences, culture, ancestors, beliefs, supports, mentors. Feel grounded.

TRUNK: Now, feel your core. Imagine the sensations of connecting with your core like the trunk of a tree: your center, you values. The now, your passions, loved ones, you, your worth. Feel centered.

BRANCHES: Now, feel your arms and fingers. You may reach up, stretch, and sway. Imagine the sensations of connecting with your arms and fingers like the limbs and leaves of a tree. Feel your creativity, your practice, possibilities and opportunities, the individuals, groups, and community you interact with, giving and receiving. Feel connected.



The views expressed in the Educator|Resource are those of the educator(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council on Social Work Education.

 Contact Dr. Yolanda Padilla, CSWE Diversity Center Director, at [email protected].