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Dean McPhee’s Statement on Violence in the Capitol


Dear GSS Community:

The Graduate School of Social Service stands with President McShane and Fordham University in denouncing the assault on democracy witnessed in our nation’s capital. Violence, vandalism, intimidation, and the blatant promotion of white supremacy have no place in a functioning democracy. The mob of people who stormed the Capitol building appeared united in their desire to subvert the electoral process. Instead, their actions resulted in the destruction of the revered property and principles meant to represent the best of what America stands for. And let us not forget the family and friends left to mourn the four individuals who lost their lives with little more than a passing reference.

The events in Washington were disturbing, but also sadly predictable. From social to mainstream media, both elected and appointed representatives have been active and transparent in their presentation of alternative facts, rejection of convention, and reinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

I borrow from a colleague who has aptly observed, “This may not be who we want to be, and does not have to be who we will be, but it is who we are. Self-deception about our past and our present makes it harder to change. We can be better any time we want, but change starts with clear eyes.”

As social workers, we must go beyond condemning violence, racism, and destruction; we must be willing to act in pursuit of peace and equity. The GSS community remains more committed than ever to advancing social justice, stable democracy, and inclusion. We call upon our elected officials to join us and act with integrity on behalf of all citizens.

Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Social Service
Fordham University


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