Community Forum

18th Annual Community Forum 

March 25, 2022

8:45 a.m. - 4 p.m. VIRTUAL

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Moving Toward Anti-Oppressive Practice

Thank you for joining us for the 18th Annual Community Forum. 

CE certificates have been emailed to individuals who completed the CE request form.  If you have not received your CE certificate, please contact socialworkevents@kutztown.edu 

Handouts for the event are available below.

Speaker Handouts

Forum Purpose

The Kutztown University Community Forum, organized by the Department of Social Work, is a gathering of social work professionals, university community members, and community leaders. The purpose is to raise consciousness about—and craft solutions to—community needs, particularly as they pertain to families.

The 2022 Forum raises awareness of the need to for anti-oppressive practices and policies designed to eliminate the bias and discrimination that has burdened families of color in the social environment. All families deserve a systemic, ethical response to regional and global needs. Experts identify best practices and social work professionals serve as catalysts to build and strengthen alliances across the practice continuum.

Continuing Education Credit Certificates

A maximum of 6 continuing education credits are available for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors.   (3 credits for morning only; 3 for afternoon only; or 6 for full day, including 3 ethics credits for full day attendees)

Continuing education credits will be forwarded via email after the event.  Please allow two weeks processing time.

SPEAKERS

Race, Discrimination and Forms of Bias Training Act: PA Senate Bill #163 and PA House Bill #1140

  • Dr. Edward Hanna, DSW, MSW, LCSW, Kutztown University, Legislation Proposal Author
  • Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Rozzi, 126th Legislative District, Sponsor PA House Bill #1140
  • Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Schwank, 11th Senatorial District, PA Senate Bill #163 

This session is an example of legislative advocacy that began in the Department of Social Work at Kutztown University. It will begin with a brief history and description of the initiatives that resulted in the development of pending legislation for mandatory training of (most) licensed professionals and state and municipal employees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. State Representative Rozzi and State Senator Schwank will then share their views and their commitment to advancing the legislation to enactment.

  • Dr. Edward Hanna, DSW, MSW, LCSW, Kutztown University, Legislation Author Bio

    Dr. Hanna has more than thirty years experience in the field having served as a direct practitioner, supervisor, and director of mental health and drug/alcohol programs. Leaving his last position as President and CEO of an East Coast Mental Health provider system, Dr. Hanna has spent the last 17 years in private practice as a therapist, mediator, consultant, and educator.

    Dr. Hanna earned his B.A. from Colby College, Waterville, ME, and his M.S.W. and D.S.W. from The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (PA), a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, an Advanced Practitioner Member (Family Mediation) of The Association For Conflict Resolution, an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (Dispute Resolution), and holds memberships and positions in many other organizations.

     

  • PA State Representative Mark Rozzi, 126th Legislative District Bio

    State Representative Mark Rozzi was elected to serve as State Representative for the 126th Legislative District in November 2012.

    The Berks County Legislator is a lifelong resident of the district. He graduated in 1989 from Muhlenberg High School where he was a three sport athlete and member of the Political Science Club and Model UN.

    Rozzi went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Kutztown University with a concentration in pre-law and constitutional law.

    Rozzi resides in Muhlenberg Township where he remains active in the community. His legislative priorities include education, property tax relief, improving the commonwealth’s aging infrastructure system and safeguarding our children from predators.

  • PA State Senator Judy Schwank, 11th Senatorial District Bio

    State Senator Judy Schwank has represented the 11th senatorial district, which includes the City of Reading and portions of Berks County, since 2011. Before joining the State Senate, Schwank served as a Berks County horticultural agent for Penn State Cooperative Extension and later made   history by becoming the first ever woman to serve as a Berks County Commissioner. She is currently the minority chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee, a Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus and a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors. 

PA Senator Judy Schwank

11th Senatorial District

PA Representative Mark Rozzi

126th Legislative District

Dr. Edward P. Hanna, DSW, MSW, LCSW

Kutztown University

Critical Race Theory (CRT) - A Brief Overview from a Social Work Perspective

  • Dr. Hanif Bey, DSW, MSW, LSW; Frederick Douglass Scholar, Department of Sociology, Social Work & Criminal Justice, East Stroudsburg University

Objectives 

  • Understand the purpose of theories and their use in social work.
  • Review the antecedents of Critical Race Theory.
  • Explore the origins of Critical Race Theory and its basic tenets.
  • Explore the use of Critical Race Theory in social work.
  • Bio

    Hanif M. Bey, DSW, LSW, MSW, is a licensed social worker with a Doctor of Social Work degree from the joint program at Kutztown-Millersville University. Currently, he is a full-time temporary Frederick Douglas Scholar at East Stroudsburg University (ESU) Department of Sociology, Social Work, & Criminal Justice. For the last seven years at ESU, he teaches Crisis Intervention, Child Welfare Services, Helping Philosophies and Methods for Social Work, and Human Behavior & the Social Environment. Dr. Bey’s research interests and passions are dismantling white supremacy and racism, social and economic justice, and social work education. His three decades of practice experiences include NYC Child Welfare Administration-specializing in child sexual abuse protection, NYC Legal Aid Society-Criminal Defense Division as a Forensic Social Worker, Preventive Services Supervisor at the Lower East Side Family Union, and hospital social work. He is an active member of the NASW, and member of the Emerging Baccalaureate Social Work Educator-Scholars Initiative. He was born and raised in the South Bronx, is a husband, father, and loves to read and cook. 

Hanif Bey headshot

What we say, how we say it, and who says it: The central role of Language in diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Dr. Kristen Syrett, Ph.D., Rutgers University; The State University of New Jersey, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, Presidential Term Chair in Experimental Linguistics 

  • Presentation Information

    The growing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusivity in recent years has brought about an increased awareness that we must intentionally revisit our practices within and across multiple contexts, with the goal of removing barriers to participation, creating safe spaces asserting and recognizing our identities and diverse perspectives, and ensuring that a wide range of individuals feel welcome, valued, and seen. While gender, race, and ethnicity stand at the heart of these efforts, there is another aspect of our identity that cross-cuts all of these demographic variables: language. The ability to communicate with language is unique to humans, and every human knows (speaks or signs) at least one language. Our linguistic knowledge is intimately tied to every single aspect of our daily experiences. It shapes our relationships with others, and defines our identities. It tells the story of who we are as individuals, as a culture and a society, and as a people. Given the undeniable importance of language, it is surprising that language is often absent from discussions of DEI, or is relegated to lists of what to say or not to say, as if simply filtering our language is how to best promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity. In this talk, I call upon a wide range of examples (from pronouns and linguistic expressions that convey bias, to consequences of educational policies and assessment practices) that collectively underscore why language must be a central part of DEI efforts and discussions, and what’s at risk when it is not. Inviting language into the DEI discourse means reevaluating our practices at multiple levels and across multiple dimensions. Understanding how language fundamentally shapes our identities and conveys who and what matters, means recognizing that not only does language serve as the means by which these DEI discussions take place, language also serves to create the very space in which these discussions occur. 

  • Dr. Kristen Syrett, Ph.D. Bio

    Kristen Syrett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Dr. Syrett is both an active researcher—with expertise is in child language acquisition and development, psycholinguistics, and experimental semantics and pragmatics—and an advocate for gender equity and inclusivity. She is the Director of the Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies, and serves as the Co-Director of the Language and Social Justice Initiative in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers. She also serves as the Chair of the Public Relations Committee for the Linguistic Society of America, where she has also been a member and Chair of the Committee on Gender Equity in Linguistics, formerly the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics, and in that capacity, spearheaded the creation of the LSA’s Guidelines on Inclusive Language. She has been invited to speak and serve as a consultant in numerous venues, and has been featured on diverse media platforms, to educate and foster awareness of the central role of language in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusivity.  

     

Dr. Kristen Syrett

Professional Social Work Month Proclamation

  • Pennsylvania State Representative Gary Day, 187th Legislative District 
  • Bio

    In representing the 187th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Gary Day applies his experience in both the public and private sectors to address Pennsylvania’s most critical issues.  

    During the 2021-22 legislative session, he will continue to work toward protecting the quality of life for constituents, including fighting to support local volunteer firefighters and increasing the safety in both suburban and rural neighborhoods. He uses his experience to ensure that everyone he represents has equal access to state services and an equal voice in state policy.  

    This session, he is serving on the following standing House committees: Aging and Older Adult Services, where he is the majority chairman, and Professional Licensure.  

    During his tenure in the House, Day served as chairman of the House Select Committee on School Safety and Security, which helped develop and examine legislation to enhance safety in schools across Pennsylvania. Day steered the effort in the House to create the committee through successful passage of House Resolution 53. He has been working since that time to advance legislation to enhance security within schools in Pennsylvania.  

    Before his election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008, Gary was the director of marketing and human resources for Service Electric Cablevision, a local cable television and telecommunications company. Prior to that, he was the executive assistant to the mayor in Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third largest city. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business.  

    Actively involved in his district, Gary is a lifetime member of the Goodwill Fire Company No. 1, Germansville; a member of the Heidelberg Game Protective Association; and a softball, football and baseball youth sports coach. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, the Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, and Greenleaf Lodge No. 561.  

    Previously, he was a member of the YMCA board of directors and the Upper Lehigh Lions Club; founding member of the Lehigh Valley Sportsfest; executive director of the Allentown Advancement Team; and an executive committee member of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation.  

Representative Gary Day

Policing and Social Work

  • City of Bethlehem Mayor William Reynolds
  • Police Chief Dr. Michelle Kott, City of Bethlehem
  • Jordan Westerman, MSW, Bethlehem Health Bureau, Community Health Specialist 
  • Susan Benay Berger, BS, RN, Director of Nursing at Bethlehem Health Bureau 
  • Detective Emily Falko, Bethlehem Health Bureau 
  • Kristen Wenrich, MPH, CPH, Bethlehem Health Bureau 

In 2020, the City of Bethlehem Health Bureau partnered with the City of Bethlehem Police Department to incorporate social workers to help assist police officers with overall referrals for social services in our community. Over the past year the program has grown and the data being collected helped us understand the value of social worker and police working together to help those who need connect to services in our community.

 

  • J. William Reynolds Bio

    A lifelong resident of Bethlehem, William graduated Magna Cum Laude from Moravian College in 2003 with a major in Political Science and a minor in History.  William became the youngest City Council member in Bethlehem’s history in 2007 following his successful challenge to a slate of incumbent Council members. In 2014, William was elected by his colleagues to serve as President of City Council, a position he was re-elected to in 2016. 

    As President of City Council, William launched Bethlehem 2017 – a set of policy initiatives aimed at making Bethlehem a more progressive community. As state and national inaction on climate issues continued,   William led the way in helping Bethlehem to establish its first Climate Action Plan. William also proposed and created NorthSide 2027 – a reinvestment strategy and public/private partnership for north Bethlehem’s neighborhoods that includes citizens, local businesses, the Bethlehem Area School District and Moravian College.

    Bethlehem broke new ground in governmental transparency by adopting William’s Financial      Accountability Incentive Reporting (F.A.I.R.) – an initiative that measures and tracks the effectiveness of economic development incentive programs. In 2018, Bethlehem also instituted William’s open data program which publishes governmental data in an effort to spur innovation, entrepreneurship, and citizen engagement in the city.  During William’s time on City Council, Bethlehem has also continued its economic revitalization as billions of dollars of private and public investment have helped to lead the city to its consistent ranking as one of the best American cities in which to live, work, and retire.

    2021 saw William capture nearly 65 percent of the vote while sweeping all 37 wards in becoming Bethlehem’s 14th Mayor.

    William has also served on Moravian College’s Board of Trustees, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Transition Team, and the Bethlehem Area Public Library's Board of Directors.

     

  • City of Bethlehem Police Chief Dr. Michelle Kott Bio

    Dr. Chief Michelle Kott has been employed by the City of Bethlehem Police Department for 18 years. Chief Kott has served as a Patrol Officer, Crime Scene Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Detective Lieutenant, and Captain. Now serving as the Police Chief, Kott has a great passion for her community and implementing mental health and crisis intervention into the police department. Prior to becoming the Chief of Police, she served as a member of the Departments Crisis Negotiation Team for 6 years and later became the team leader for 5 additional years. She graduated with from DeSales University with her Bachelors of Arts Criminal Justice, completed her Master of Science Criminal Justice from Saint Joseph’s University. She wanted to continue her education and completed her Doctorate in Criminal Justice from California University of Pennsylvania.

     

  • Jordan Westerman, MSW Bio

    Jordan Westerman is a Social Worker that has been employed by the City of Bethlehem for almost 4 years. Jordan proudly graduated from Kutztown University with her Master’s in Social Work in 2018. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Valley Forge in 2016. Ms. Westerman has various experiences in the field of Mental Health and worked with various populations prior to her employment at the City of Bethlehem. Over the last 4 years she has had the opportunity to work on many different programs. Over the last year, Ms. Westerman has worked with the City administration to create a Police and Social Work Program in hopes to be a model to other departments.

  • Susan Benay Berger, BS, RN Bio

    Benay Berger, (who goes by Benay) is the Director of Nursing at the Bethlehem Health Bureau (BHB).  She has been a nurse for over a decade and has worked in the Emergency Department at Union Memorial hospital in her hometown of Baltimore, MD, as the Charge Nurse at Cedar Sinai Urgent Cares in Los Angeles, C.A., as a College Health Nurse at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and as a Public Health Nurse at the Bethlehem Health Bureau. Public Health is Benay’s passion. From the various nursing and life experiences she has had, she’s recognized so many of the medical and social issues she’s dealt with as a nurse all lead back to the social determinants of health and to public health policies.  Benay feels that “supporting residents and families in our communities with a robust public health system that facilitates access to good, quality care for their physical, mental, educational and social health care needs and recognizing the social determinates of health, is a huge part of what makes a strong, healthy, resilient and thriving society.”

  • Detective Emily Falko Bio

    Detective Emily Falko graduated from the Allentown Police Academy and has been employed by the City of Bethlehem Police Department since 2014. Currently, she assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit as a Special Victims Detective and a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team. Prior to becoming a police officer she attended Kutztown University as a student athlete majoring in Criminal Justice as well as being a member of the field hockey team.  She received my Master’s in Digital Forensics from DeSales University in 2020. Detective Falko is a member of Delaware Valley Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, member of the Lehigh and Northampton County Drug Task Force, and Member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team for Eastern PA.

  • Kristen Wenrich, MPH, CPH Bio

    Kristen Wenrich, MPH, CPH has worked in the field of public health for more than 20 years.  Ms. Wenrich was appointed to the position of Director of Health for the City of Bethlehem on January ­­­­­­7, 2013.  She joined the Bethlehem Health Bureau in September 1998 after graduating from East Stroudsburg University.  In May 2004, she earned her master’s degree in public health from East Stroudsburg University and received her certification in public health in 2008.  

    Ms. Wenrich worked in several program areas during her 24 years of employment, including maternal and child health, chronic disease prevention, public health emergency preparedness, communicable disease and quality improvement.  In her role as Health Director, Ms. Wenrich focuses on diagnosing the most pressing health issues in Bethlehem, identifying the most effective strategies to improve health and collaborating with community partners in an effort to fulfill the Health Bureau’s mission of creating a healthier Bethlehem.  Ms. Wenrich is currently leading efforts in Bethlehem on improving health equity, community engagement, advancing multi-sector partnerships, and addressing the social determinants of health.

    Ms. Wenrich has presented at several state and national conferences on topics related to childhood obesity, smoking cessation, hookah use, homelessness and quality improvement.  In addition, Ms. Wenrich has contributed to several articles on quality improvement, hookah use, and opioids that have appeared in national publications.

Dr. Michelle Kott

City of Bethlehem Police Chief

Jordan Westerman, MSW

Bethlehem Health Bureau, Community Health Specialist

Susan Benay Berger, BS, RN

Director of Nursing at Bethlehem Health Bureau

Detective Emily Falko

Bethlehem Health Bureau

Kristen Wenrich, MPH, CPH

Bethlehem Health Bureau

William Reynolds

Bethlehem Mayor

The Obligation of White Women: Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Social Work Education 

  • Dr. Sara Plummer, Ph.D., MSW, Assistant Director, BASW Program and Assistant Professor of Teaching, Rutgers School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

On Memorial Day 2020, a white woman, Amy Cooper, was walking her unleashed dog in New York City. After being apprised of the leash law in that state by a man bird watching, Ms. Cooper proceeded to call the police stating an “African American man” was “threatening her life and that of her dog” (Ransom, 2020). While this event may seem unconnected to the field of social work, it is a modern example of the way white women, including those in social work, use emotionality, bureaucracy, and the law to control Black bodies. Social work has been and continues to be, responsible for policies and practices that maintain white supremacy culture and criminalize Black people.

Keywords: White supremacy, social work education, white women, racism, dominant culture

  • Sara Plummer, Ph.D., MSW Bio

    Dr. Plummer is an Assistant Director of the BASW program and an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers School of Social Work.  As a founding member of the Social Work Coalition for Anti-Racist Educators (SWCARES), she has prioritized working to dismantle white supremacy culture in the social work education system through scholarship, presentations, service to the field, and advocacy.  Her interests include teaching and curriculum development that focuses on anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogy, along with the use of metacognition in her service as an educator.

Sara Plummer headshot

Racial and Social Justice in Social Work: Making it Personal 

  • Shimon Cohen, MSW, LCSW, Columbia University, Social Work Podcaster 
  • Charla Cannon Yearwood, MSSW, LCSW, Executive Board Member SWCARES (Social Work Cares, the Social Work Coalition for Anti-Racist Educators) 

As social workers, we are called to challenge systems of oppression and root our work in the liberation of the oppressed. But how are we assessing for oppression within our own professional practices and systems? Are we evaluating our profession from an anti-oppressive critical lens? In this presentation, presenters Charla Yearwood and Shimon Cohen, engage in a reflective discussion of the social work profession’s role in maintaining oppression. They will also spotlight social work lead movements which seek to challenge professional norms which maintain oppressive systems. Participants will be encouraged to assess their own professional practices and identify ways they can challenge institutional oppression in their everyday work. 

Shimon Cohen, MSW, LCSW

Columbia University, Social Work Podcaster

Charla Cannon Yearwood, MSSW, LCSW

Executive Board Member SWCARES (Social Work Cares, the Social Work Coalition for Anti-Racist Educators)

sustainable lending library

The Department of Social Work is working to develop a Sustainable Lending Library that will facilitate access to educational materials/resources throughout social work students’ educational career. The library will be operated through the department and provide a lending service of essential educational materials to our students. Our initial fundraising goal is $ 55,000.  The  initiation date for the fund was Spring 2021.

Past Forum Videos

15th Annual Community Forum

12th Annual Community Forum

7th Annual Community Forum

14th Annual Community Forum

11th Annual Community Forum