Fellow students, Dean Videka, faculty, staff, family members and friends,
Welcome to the Silver School of Social Work convocation 2010! Today we celebrate 50 years of excellence at New York University’s school of social work. I stand here on behalf of the fiftieth class excited, inspired, and empowered with the process and the context of continued growth that we have experienced together as social work professionals.
I would like to take the time to encourage you this evening. We all share a story, a memory, and a historical context in this country and in the world that has brought us to this point in our lives. We all share that mentor, mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, and a friend that encouraged us along the way.
Today we celebrate our accomplishments in a profession that is referred to “as the conscious of our society.” On this day, we inherit a rite of passage as the mentors and the agents that empower a society that needs healing and systemic change. We are closing a chapter and opening a new one in our lives.
I encourage you this evening, to remain engaged in the journey of research, theory, practice, and self-reflection. I encourage you to continue to stretch yourselves beyond having a broad understanding of oppression and focus on the context/singular identity of our greater communities. This will make every experience authentic and help you address the social problems in the context of the community that you are working in. This concept will equip you to analyze, deconstruct, and transform the social work profession. Don’t let it end here! Become the clinician, the researcher, educator, and the maker of policy instead of the follower of policy.
Remember to leave a legacy everywhere that you stand. Remain curious! Malcolm X once said “my alma mater was books, a good library - I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” Remain present, focused, and confident in your journey! Dr. Antonia Novello once said “never underestimate your own capabilities – others will be happy to do it for you.” We are strong people today however; even stronger in the future. I thank you once again for sharing this experience with me. I wish you blessings, peace, and love. Congratulations!