This year's Social Action Day was titled Breaking the Silence: Mass Incarceration in the United States. Aspiring social workers learned not only about imprisonment, but how it affects those who have been impacted by it.

by Cari Costa ’16

Adelphi’s annual Social Action Day was held on Monday, April 18, 2016 in the University Center ballrooms. Social Action Day, which is open to faculty, students, alumni and the community, consists of various speakers and workshops, each pertaining to an issue affecting a different disadvantaged population and what can be done to improve the lives of these individuals.

“This year’s SIMG_1676ocial Action Day was dynamic!” said Schanica Pickens, student affairs coordinator for the School of Social Work.

The theme of this year’s event was Breaking the Silence: Mass Incarceration in the United States. Khalil Cumberbatch, manager of trainings for JustLeadershipUSA, served as the keynote speaker for the event. In his speech, Cumberbatch discussed JLUSA’s mission to cut the national prison population in half by the year 2030.

IMG_1692“This is a room full of students entering into a field where they’re going to come up against many issues that people who are at risk of incarceration, or have been incarcerated, face,” said Cumberbatch. “It’s important for them to hear the voice of someone who has been directly impacted, who has survived the criminal justice system and also the immigration detention system, and let them hear that they should be listening to the voices of those who have been directly impacted as well.”

Following the keynote speech, participating students broke up into groups and attended several different workshop sessions, including “Queer Detainee Empowerment Project” and “Crafting a Social Work Response to the Aging in Prison Crisis.”

Sara Bonne, an M.S.W student in attendance, was highly impressed not only with the event itself, but especially with Cumberbatch.

“He was definitely inspiring,” she said, “being somebody prominent who presents his experience in the system through a social work perspective.”

Pickens agreed. She said that Cumberbatch sharing his experiences inspired “an entire community of social workers and social workers in training.”

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