On behalf of the SSWR Board of Directors, we are saddened collectively by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is causing incredible ruin across our country and the world. As social work scholars and scientists, we know that our work has never been more important. We need to continue working towards solutions to society’s ills, most urgently the impact COVID-19 is having on the most disenfranchised among us. Our expertise on evidence-based interventions as well as promising strategies to address a host of societal challenges is needed to mitigate the consequences of this sea change in the ways in which we used to live. Not only is the economy at a complete halt, people are horribly ill and, frankly, petrified. The loss of life is beyond tragic.
Our brave and compassionate health care professionals and first responders are stretched perilously thin, yet they put themselves in harm’s way, consistently and selflessly, to protect the rest of us. The most vulnerable in our society are now more at-risk of shattering outcomes in the immediate present. These include children, older adults, detained immigrants, incarcerated people, and those who were already struggling with health and mental health problems, homelessness, substance abuse, child maltreatment, educational challenges, and financial struggles. And they will continue to be at such risk on the other side of this persistent pandemic. This virus has also negatively impacted Latinx populations who tend to be un-or underinsured, many with jobs that cannot simply transfer to remote working. We have witnessed a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate and discrimination since the outbreak of COVID-19, which has created an additional layer of fear and anxiety among Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. As recently noted, we are seeing the most devastating effects of the pandemic on African-American communities across the country where there is a documented staggering overrepresentation of black individuals in the reported infection and death rates from the virus. This should not come as a surprise as this pandemic magnifies the historical inequities in economic and health outcomes for the most susceptible Americans.
We encourage you to stay as strong as possible and continue to exercise the unflagging commitment that is emblematic of social work as we continue our scholarly endeavors. Consider every opportunity to contribute to the research underway that addresses ways in which to mitigate the impact of this virus on the populations with which we already engage in our research. We need to continue our leadership in ways that make sense for the populations most in need, especially in light of COVID-19. As advanced nations are trying to fight this pandemic around the globe, we also must not neglect our fundamental responsibility to support and advocate for response efforts, particularly in low-resource nations that will bear the devastating impact of this looming disaster. Finally, as we prioritize the communities that need us most, we also must practice the same patience and care for one another.
We offer healing thoughts and much hope to emerge from this nightmare somewhat intact, although severely bruised. Please be safe, exercise compassion, and mind the emotional health of all.
SSWR Board of Directors