School of Social Work

National Association of Black Social Workers

Cleveland State University Chapter - National Association of Black Social Workers

Mission Statement:
The mission of the National Association of Black Social Workers is to enhance the quality of life and empower people of African Ancestry through advocacy, human services, and research.

The Vision Statement:
The vision of the organization is guided by the principles of Nguzo Saba and Ma’at.  The principles of Nguzo Saba are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.  The principles of Ma’at are truth, justice, right, order, reciprocity, balance and harmony.  Following these principles assists members with creating a world free of racial domination, economic exploitation, and cultural oppression for people who are members of African Ancestry.

Cleveland State University is pleased to have a nationally recognized student chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers.  Student members hold the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary.  The students participate in bi-monthly chapter meetings.  In carrying out the vision and mission of our national chapter, the student chapter of NABSW is aimed at enhancing the quality of life for students in their academic achievements and their pre-professional experiences by reaching out to the community and providing support whenever they can. 

The student chapter has been very busy this previous academic year.  The students participated in a radio interview describing this organization and its future goals.  The chapter conducted a fundraising event for the family of a young man in need of a kidney transplant.  The students were able to give the family $500.00 to assist with his care.  The chapter additionally participated in several meetings with the students and staff members of an inner-city high school.  The goal was to form a collaborative relationship in order to establish a mentoring program and assist the students in the exploration and preparation for their future as successful and productive individuals in their neighborhoods, communities and the society at large. 

Code of Ethics:
In America today, no Black person, except the selfish or irrational, can claim neutrality in the quest for Black liberation nor fail to consider the implications of the events taking place in our society. Given the necessity for committing ourselves to the struggle for freedom, we as Black Americans practicing in the field of social welfare, set forth this statement of ideals and guiding principles.

If a sense of community awareness is a precondition to humanitarian acts, then we as Black social workers must use our knowledge of the Black community, our commitments to its determination, and our helping skills for the benefit of Black people as we marshal our expertise to improve the quality of life of Black people. Our activities will be guided by our Black consciousness, our determination to protect the security of the Black community, and to serve as advocates to relieve suffering of Black people by any means necessary.
Therefore, as Black social workers we commit ourselves, collectively, to the interests of our Black brethren and as individuals subscribe to the following statements:

I regard as my primary obligation the welfare of the Black individual, Black family, and Black community and will engage in action for improving social conditions.

I give precedence to this mission over my personal interest.

I adopt the concept of a Black extended family and embrace all Black people as my brothers and sisters, making no distinction between their destiny and my own.

I hold myself responsible for the quality and extent of service I perform and the quality and extent of service performed by the agency or organization in which I am employed, as it relates to the Black community.

I accept the responsibility to protect the Black community against unethical and hypocritical practice by any individual or organizations engaged in social welfare activities.

I stand ready to supplement my paid or professional advocacy with voluntary service in the Black public interest.

I will consciously use my skills, and my whole being as an instrument for social change, with particular attention directed to the establishment of Black social institutions.

African Terms and Definitions:

Hotep- Peace

Harambee- Pulling together for a common cause

Ma’at- Truth and Justice

Sankofa- Reaching back in order to move forward

Asante Sana- Thank you

Mwanafunzi- Student. (Moo-won-uh-fun-zee)

NguzoSaba-Seven guiding principles (see next seven terms)

Umoja –Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”(ooh-moe-jah)

Kujichagulia-Self-determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that in the best interest of our family and community(koo-gee-cha-goo-lee-yah)

Ujima-Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.(ooh-gee-mah)

Ujamaa-Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.(ooh-jah-mah)

Nia-Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.(nee-yah)

Kuumba-Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.(koo-oom-bah)

Imani-Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed & triumph in righteous struggle.(ee-mah-nee)

Kwanzaa-Kwanzaa is a unique African-American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement.  Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas.  It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture.  Kwanzaa means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili.  When establishing Kwanzaa in 1966, Dr.Maulana Karenga included an additional "a" to the end of the spelling to reflect the difference between the African-American celebration (Kwanzaa) and the Mother land spelling(Kwanza).  Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba, one for each day of observance, and is celebrated December 26 – January 1.

Zawadi gift- These gifts are given out as an award for a job well done or a commitment to the principles of Kwanzaa.  Usually an award is homemade or educational.  NABSW chapters share a gift of $25 or more with the host chapter of the National Conference.  The host chapter then shares this gift with an organization in the community that shares like/similar values with NABSW.

Harbari Gani- "What's the news? "or What's happening?

Kamau-Kenyan meaning "quiet warrior".

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