BSW Coordinator Leads Lift as We Climb: An Intercultural Learning Experience

5/21 - Lift as We Climb was a two-part series of panel discussions sponsored by the College of Health and Human Services Cultural Activity Grant. The series was led by Dr. Tiffany Lane, an associate professor and BSW coordinator in the School of Social Work. The series engaged Black women who work in diverse helping professions in critical discourse on the intersection of race and gender issues in the workplace. The goal of the series was to engage the UNCW and Wilmington communities in essential conversations to raise awareness of the unique challenges that some women of color face in professional settings and offer collective solutions and strategies to navigate systematic racism and sexism.

SSW-Lift-as-we-Climb-Lane-Web.jpgDr. Lane is a social worker and activist committed to bringing awareness to racial and gender inequity in professional settings. As an African American professional who experienced challenges and successes in the social work profession, Dr. Lane affirms that bringing attention to topics that aren’t traditionally a part of the academic curriculum builds upon students, faculty and staff knowledge base. The discussions aimed to empower attendees from similar and different backgrounds to learn more about the discriminatory experiences of Black women to combat and advocate against inequitable practices. It was also crucial to Dr. Lane to provide a space during the conversations to discuss strategies that Black women and other amazing women of color can use to navigate institutional racism.  

The Conversations: Lift as We Climb

The title of the series “Lift as we Climb” was inspired by the National Association of Colored Women (now known as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs). The National Association of Colored Women coined “lifting as we climb” to empower and elevate Black women. The group was formed in 1896 to address the many challenges Black women endured following the abolition of slavery in the US. Some of the challenges were sexism, racism, exploitation and negative imageries of Black women. The National Association of Colored Women was committed to cultivating a positive representation of Black women and strengthening racial dignity. The women created a social and safe space for Black women to encourage each other and support their leadership development to improve communities and strive for equity for Blacks.

The first conversation in the series titled “Lift as We Climb: The Triumphs and Challenges of Black Women & Women of Color in the Helping Professions” was held virtually on Feb. 17, 2021. The panelists were Dr. Sabrina Cherry, assistant professor in the public health department at UNCW; Ms. Laura Gisele -Tambe, a respiratory therapist for Inova Fairfax Medical Campus and George Washington University Hospital, Va.; Mrs. Jhaniqua F. Palmer, the program coordinator for the Grandparent Support Network and Advocacy and Racial Justice at the YWCA Lower Cape Fear, N.C.;  Ms. Tangela Harden, assistant director of field education at Widener University in the School of Social Work, Pa., and Mrs. Carnesia Harden- Abney, a neuro nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Pa. Members of UNCW Black Women Association co-hosted the event. Jazlyn Bain, a MSW candidate at UNCW, played a vital role in planning the series.

The final conversation titled “Lift as We Climb: The Resistance and Resilience of Black Women in the Professional World” was held on April 20, 2021. The panelists were Dr. Sendy Guerrier Alcidonis, the senior director of the Center for Women & Gender Equity at West Chester University, Pa., and Ms. Lauren Reliford, a MSW 2021 Candidate at The Catholic University of America, District of Columbia. Over 60 people, including the UNCW and the broader community, registered for each panel discussion, and the feedback was favorable.

It is essential to create spaces for transformative learning experiences where diverse cultural and racial groups can share and learn from one another to enhance health and quality of life. Dr. Lane looks forward to collaborating with colleagues across campus to continue to engage in cultural immersions to support the vision and mission of CHHS.