Published April 1, 2022
As members of the Graduate Student Association of the UB School of Social Work,
Sadness and despair overwhelm our hearts as people all over the world are being deprived of their human rights and safety. We want to take the time to acknowledge nations that are being invaded and experiencing violence, economic crisis, and war at the moment, including Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, South Sudan, Mexico, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Columbia, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Central African Republic, the oppression and violence against Kurdish people, the genocide of Uyghurs, and others. Many people have lost their lives, loved ones, homes, access to food and water, and have been displaced all over the world.
Several Western media outlets have made racist and dehumanizing statements, denoting that Ukraine does not deserve this violation because they are “more civilized” than folks in other continents. Those statements center white supremacy and prioritizes Europeans as more deserving of recognition and empathy. No one deserves war, and people should not look a certain way for us to empathize with them. No one should be forgotten and left behind.
As a society, we must be mindful of how we approach this topic and talk about it. We need to acknowledge people’s lived experiences with violence, war, colonization, and occupation, and take time to reflect on our own biases and privileges. Indigenous, Black, Brown, Immigrants, Refugees, and communities of color have been experiencing wars and violence for an extensive amount of time. Communities and neighborhoods are constantly being invaded and stripped of their sovereignty and human rights. Claiming that wars are not happening on US soil is a false statement, and erases the identities and the lived experiences of many. War, occupation, and colonization have been constantly hurting marginalized communities, including women, children, the LGBTQ+ community, and our planet.
For all the students that have families abroad, have or are experiencing wars, to all the marginalized communities in the United States, we are thinking of you. As members of society, collaboration and empathy is needed to support and uplift one another. Hand in hand, we must work together on eliminating powerful forces, and create a world where everyone can live peacefully and safely.
The SSW GSA encourages anyone who might be triggered by the current conversations on war to seek support, whether by talking to your loved ones, stepping away from social media, disengaging in certain conversations, or seeking support from a counselor or other helpful resources. Please take care of yourself and look out for those around you.
Some helpful resources on UB Campus:
Questions? Please contact:
Jessica Al Kadi (She/Her/Hers)
Graduate Student - School of Social Work
SSW GSA Vice President
University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo operates on the traditional territory of the Onödowa'ga:' (Seneca Nation) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.