Campus: CSU Long Beach -- April 02, 2003

Department of Social Work at Cal State Long Beach Awarded Grant Through Anti-Bias Project to Better Serve Muslim, Arab Communities


The Department of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach has been awarded a $51,354 grant to help social workers better serve Muslims as well as those of Arab and South Asian descent.

The department was one of 19 organizations to receive $1.5 million in grants through the September 11th Anti-Bias project, a joint initiative of the National Conference for Community and Justice and the Chevron Texaco Foundation.

“A lot of praise ought to go to Cal State Long Beach President Robert Maxson,” said Susan Rice, a professor of social work at CSULB and principal investigator for the grant project. “His support for civility and tolerance is more than lip service. The award of this grant reflects this university’s commitment to preventing bias and stereotypes from destroying the relation-ships created here.”

Social Work will use the funds to design a series of programs aimed at examining values, increasing understanding and enhancing skills to improve the services provided by social workers to clients from Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities.

“In California, all licensed social workers must receive 36 hours of continuing education every two years,” Rice explained. “We’re using this grant to develop a curriculum model of a one-day, six-hour offering for all social workers in the state of California. If we serve 150 social workers,
and they return to their agencies and disseminate the information, we feel this could make a real impact on the community.”

The one-day symposium will be offered five times beginning in the summer of 2003 after the department has created a team of social work educators and Muslim community leaders to design the curriculum. “We are hoping to create a written curriculum project at the end of the grant that can be offered to social workers throughout the state and nation,” she said. A nominal admission of $30 will cover materials and a luncheon.

“There was a 13,000 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians between 2000 and 2001, with 85 percent of those crimes occurring in the month after September 11, 2001,” Rice pointed out. “When something that bad happens, there is an unhealthy gut instinct to blame someone. That’s how a whole group can be painted with an awful brush.”


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