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SSWO symposium advocates for creating just and inclusive community services

Minot State University's Student Social Work Organization will sponsor "Beyond Cultural Competence: Skills for Creating More Just and Inclusive Community Services" Friday (April 25) in the Conference Center (Student Center, third floor), 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Phyllis May-Machunda and Amy Phillips will be presenters.

“SSWO is proud to present its annual spring symposium. Amy Phillips and Phyllis May-Machunda will discuss the issue of overcoming oppression by using a multicultural framework for helping professionals,” said Kelly Knudson, SSWO president.

May-Machunda is a professor and former chair of the American Multicultural Studies Department at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Trained as a folklorist and public humanities scholar of African-American studies, American multicultural studies and social justice, she has over 25 years of professional experience in areas of multicultural and anti-oppressive education. She seeks to infuse anti-oppressive multicultural knowledge and practices into the curricula of schools, human services and workplaces to provide practitioners in those areas skills and tools to create and support socially just and fully inclusive environments.

Phillips, associate professor of social work at MSU’s Fargo site, has been a social worker for 24 years. She started her career in children and family services as a home-based crisis intervention worker and moved into program development and administration. She has an interest in the use of social work knowledge, values and skills to make change at the organizational and community levels, particularly as that change relates to dismantling institutional and systemic forms of oppression.

Conference participants will look at oppression from a multicultural framework of how it impacts practice and how participants can transform their practice and move beyond just awareness. They will also engage in active learning to increase cultural competence and move beyond understanding to integration.

The conference is recommended for social workers, educators, case managers, medical staff, law enforcement officers, counselors, psychologists and nurses. MSU students, faculty and staff can attend at no cost.

For questions, contact Dionne Spooner, SSWO advisor, at


Published: 04/25/14

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