Action Lab Initiatives

The Action for Black Lives (ABL) Initiative seeks to bring together social workers and communities in action to build a just and equitable society where Black people can thrive free of oppression, fear, and violence. We seek to create a world in which black people can thrive filled with joy and countless opportunities.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions. 

Disability is an area of minoritization too often forgot. In our ignorance, we perpetuate it. We enable it. We even tolerate it. The goal of the Disability Justice Initiative is to serve as an education source and conversation space around disability, disability rights, and disability justice.

"A Disability Justice framework understands that all bodies are unique and essential, that all bodies have strengths and needs that must be met."-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

What responsibility does academia have to social justice? How is academia implicated in the history of white supremacy and anti-blackness? How does it continue to uphold racism and colonialism? 

The Ebony Tower: Racial Justice Podcast explores these questions through a series of daring conversations with Columbia University faculty, students, and community leaders. Each episode examines race and racism across academic departments, the nexus between power and the production of knowledge, and ways in which the discipline can take actionable steps to end complicity and usher in racial equity. Ebony Tower is a student-led initiative nested within the Columbia School of Social Work Action Lab for Social Justice.

Listen to Ebony Tower: Racial Justice Podcast on Soundcloud

We look forward to being in community with you. 

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The Environmental Justice Initiative aims to center the voices and the activism of marginalized groups that are both disproportionately harmed by climate change and environmental degradation and disproportionately left out of and consequently harmed by mainstream environmental justice movements. We center race, class, gender, disability, nationality, and sexuality and recognize that the intersections of these identities are often multiply marginalized.

Email us at  [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

How have students shifted the culture, policies, and practices of the Columbia School of Social Work over time? What does it take to enact change on a higher education campus? What were the lessons learned along the way?

The Oral History Initiative trains current CSSW students to conduct oral histories with alumni who advocated for change on the CSSW campus. The project aims to document a range of student activism across the years and to build connections across cohorts. Beyond the interviews themselves, the Oral History Initiative will explore innovative ways to archive and “activate” alumni stories.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The Reimagining Safety and Care initiative critically examines current policies, practices, and establishments that support anti-black racism and works toward addressing these issues through various task groups including the Inclusive Public Safety Taskforce, Mutual Aid, Abolition Panel, and NASW's Inaction.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The Reproductive Justice Initiative seeks to explore reproductive health and rights using a Reproductive Justice (RJ) framework in the United States, and to consider the related implications for social work practice and policy. The RJ framework is a political movement that encompasses reproductive health, reproductive rights, and social justice. It focuses on the tenant that all people with the ability to reproduce and become parents should have access to the resources and environment necessary to ensure their right to: 1) have a child, 2) not have a child, and 3) parent children in safe and healthy environments (Ross and Solinger, 2017).

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The Research and Writing Initiative aims to 1) contribute to the knowledge base about racial justice in our communities, 2) formulate evidence-based recommendations that advance our mission of uprooting systems of inequality, and 3) create paths for advocacy. Through an anti-oppressive, anti-racist lens, the Research and Writing Initiative invites social work students to consider and utilize a variety of research methods as a means of achieving collective liberation. In addition to leading research projects, this initiative supports research and evaluation efforts put forth by other initiatives within the Action Lab.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The Action Lab’s social media team works together to promote any and all work done by Action Lab’s initiatives. We create and post promotional materials for events and also have the freedom to create content relating to current events or any social justice or racial justice issues that inspire us.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

We hope to utilize the Safe Zone approach, which focuses on LGBTQIA+ awareness and ally/accomplice training workshops. As it should never be the sole responsibility of the minority to educate the majority, Safe Zone allows both allies and LGBTQIA+ folx can be peer educators (e.g., trainers/facilitations of the workshops). It allows professors, student groups and organizations, any staff, and adjuncts to become Safe Zone Certified, letting members of the LGBTQ+ community know that there are individuals who are educated!

 

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.

The word “Umoja” means “Unity,” in terms of maintaining unity as a family, community, and African people in the diaspora. It is the first principle in Kwanzaa. This is the foundational belief with which we hope to bring together people in shared understanding. 

Umoja Circles has been created to provide a space for the community to express their experiences related to this dual COVID-19 pandemic and heightened anti-Black racism. A trained practitioner on our team is ready and available to host free and remote group processing support sessions.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to stop by one of our meetings or if you have any questions.