The field of social work is a rapidly growing field. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of social is estimated to grow an additional 12% over the next ten years, faster than most health science and service-based fields. Given the growth of the field of social work, it is imperative that social work begins addressing the low rate of Black men in the field. Historically, we have seen that when the field of social work is intentional about improving racial and gender representation in our profession, research, service, and advocacy for these underrepresented groups significantly increase. For example, the creation of the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan led to the development of the National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA). Data from the NSBA has been used hundreds of times, contributing to changes in social and public policy, new research methodologies, and knowledge about the experiences of Black Americans. Increasing the number of Black men in social work does more than diversify the field. It moves the field of social work forward in addressing the many needs of Black men in our society.
This collaborative roundtable session will include critical conversations about the lived experiences of Black male social workers in the United States. Our goal is to invigorate discussions that will promote an understanding of the shared contributions and experiences of Black males in the field. The Black Men in Social Work professional network consists of over 1,500 social workers from across the country. The network's leadership will officially reveal its mission, values, and vision statement to launch Black Men in Social Work. Each presenter will discuss their trajectory into the field while also discussing the challenges of navigating the social work profession as a Black male. Presenters will additionally focus on the cultural, educational, historical, professional, and racial identity themes of being a Black male. Roundtable attendees will participate in deep conversations by engaging in breakout sessions. This roundtable session will provide Black male social workers the opportunity to build community in the field to promote future collaboration, networking, and partnerships.