Breaking Barriers: The Unspoken Pioneers of Social Work

 Registration is closed for this event




Breaking Barriers: The Unspoken Pioneers of Social Work

Friday, March 24th, 2023

10:00 am to 1:00 pm EST

Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry Lecture Hall

Presenter: Cecily Mitchell-Harper, LMSW; Dr. Carol Bennett-Speight; and Emily Murphy, LMSW


NASW Other Chapter Member: $10

Non-Members: $10


This workshop is approved for 2.0 continuing education credit hours for licensed social workers, licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed psychologists

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Workshop Description

This in-person event provides an opportunity for Social Workers at all levels to connect and explore the unexplored history of the profession. The keynote session will set the stage and the foundation for the program, looking behind the curtain and unveiling the troubling legacy of racism within Social Work education. This session will explore the specific ways in which racism is perpetuated in Social Work education. Utilizing concepts from Narrative Theory and Critical Race Theory, the presenter will engage in a critical analysis of Social Work history, identifying the stories and narratives that are told and the ones that are not told. This session will describe mindsets and strategies that enable participants to engage in Social Work practice that fully embodies the core values of the profession.

The latter part of the presentation will focus on the historical understanding and contributions of Social Workers of color that are not normally portrayed in the textbooks or the media. The presenters will describe the neglected recognition of the contributions of Social Workers of color to social work as an important social justice issue. The presentation will also examine the Code of Ethics and Anti-Racist Pedagogical practices as it relates to the history of social work.  


Learning Objectives

After the completion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe Epistemological Racism as a form of racism in the education and practice of Social Work.
  • Explain ways to apply concepts from Narrative Theory and Critical Race Theory to engage in a critical analysis of Social Work education.
  • Identify the ways racism is perpetuated and ways to disrupt racism within Social Work education.
  • Describe ways to apply a healing-centered lens to social work practice.
  • Identify the ways in which a critical analysis of Social Work education shifts the narrative about Black communities from one of deficits and trauma to one of strength and resilience.
  • Identify Social Workers of Color who have played pivotal roles in the development of our profession.
  • Describe the Code of Ethics and Anti-racist pedagogical practices as it relates to the history of social work.
  • Explain ways the mission of social work is a vehicle to promote social justice and empower disenfranchised populations.

This workshop is approved for 2.0 continuing education credit hours.

NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers (Provider ID #0014), licensed mental health counselors (Provider ID #MHC-0053), licensed marriage and family therapists (Provider ID #MFT-0037) and licensed psychologists (Provider ID #PSY-0088).

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Cecily Mitchell-Harper, LMSW, is a NYS Licensed Social Worker with a passion and specialty for integrating research into practice, with a particular focus on developing transformative practices and processes to support programs that serve racially marginalized youth and families. She practices with an anti-oppressive, anti-racist and decolonial lens.

Cecily received her BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University, and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice. As a seasoned Licensed Social Worker, Cecily has extensive experience practicing in various settings, including schools, human service organizations and research centers. Cecily has clinical experience providing trauma-informed therapeutic services to children and families including those involved in the child-welfare system. Additionally, Cecily has several years of experience providing technical assistance and evaluation expertise to strengthen program capacity and inform programmatic decision making in youth-serving non-profit organizations, utilizing an anti-oppressive, racial equity lens.

Cecily currently provides professional development training, coaching and consultation services to youth serving non-profit organizations. Her areas of expertise include creating healing centered organizational practices and cultures to support holistic wellbeing, supporting direct service staff in their own healing from secondary/vicarious trauma and utilizing a continuous improvement framework to support institutional change. Additionally, Cecily is an active member of the NYS Chapter of NASW, where she serves on the NASW, NYS Revolutionize Leadership Team and provides continuing education professional development for NYS Social Workers. Furthermore, Cecily has presented at various professional conferences and events, serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU Silver School of Social Work and is a Certified Field Instructor and Mentor for graduate Social Work students with assignments at Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.



Dr. Carol Bennett-Speight received her bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University, her master's degree in social work from Rutgers University, and her Doctor of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Bennett Speight worked in higher education for over 27 years.  She was the former Dean of Rhode Island College School of Social Work, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Hunter College.  Her main research interests are in the areas of the Aging Workforce, Women of Color, and multicultural Issues.





Emily Murphy, LMSW, joined the Mercy College Social Work Program as a full-time faculty member in August 2015. Professor Murphy is also the Co-Director of the Center for Criminal and Social Justice at Mercy College. She is the academic advisor for the Mercy College Social Work Club. Professor Murphy also has a private practice working with adults enduring a history of trauma and/or mental illness.

Professor Murphy has over eighteen years of experience working directly with children and families in the New York City child welfare system.  She was the supervising social worker of the Kathryn A. McDonald Education Advocacy Project (EAP) at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice (JRP), which provides early intervention and special education advocacy for children. Prior to joining the EAP team, she was a Social Work Supervisor for the Brooklyn JRP office and a forensic social worker in the Bronx JRP office.  She received her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and her bachelor’s in social work from Skidmore College.  Professor Murphy was a field advisor for master’s in social work students at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. Professor Murphy is a member of the NASW Westchester Steering Committee. She is also a doctoral student at Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


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March 24th, 2023 from 10:00 AM to  1:00 PM
Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry Campus)
555 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Event Fee(s)
NASW-NYS Member $0.00
NASW Other Chapter Member $10.00
Non-Member $10.00