9/11 Remembrance by Dean Keith A. Alford

Published September 11, 2021


As we mark 20 years since the tragic and horrific events of September 11, 2001, I first would like to pause and remember in solemnity the thousands of lives lost on that fateful day. It was and remains traumatic. I have been spending some time reflecting on the state of the world today. When we look back at 9/11 from the distance of two decades, we may think that little has changed. It is all too clear that terrorism in many forms continues to exist and wreak havoc, impacting everyone touched by it in a ripple effect. It is easy to believe that little or nothing can be done to end the violence. I believe that as social workers, we must continue to defend the dignity and worth of the person, in fact, of humankind. Our existence matters and each of our lives has meaning and purpose. 

I want to acknowledge how members of the social work community have dedicated their time and expertise to improve the lives of others—every day. I believe we are making a difference amid difficult times. The trauma-informed and human rights perspectives incorporated throughout our academic programs prepare us to address the needs of those whose lives have been impacted by trauma. Since the dignity and worth of humankind are at the core of the National Association of Social Work’s values and code of ethics, we uphold this truth over terrorism.

Through our competent service, commitment to racial and social justice, integrity, and recognition of the importance of human relationships, we can—and do—uplift the value of life. By our commitment to working with people in need and working to address systemic social problems, we reinforce the belief that every life has value, every person, dignity. It is our calling to be society’s anti-terrorism agents of positive change.

Keith A. Alford, PhD, ACSW
Dean and Professor