Strengthening critical allyship in social work education: opportunities in the context of #BlackLivesMatter and COVID-19

Trevor G. Gates*, Bindi Bennett, Donna Baines

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has shifted social work education and widened the gaps in services for historically marginalised communities, including people of diverse cultural, sexual and gender identities and social classes. Existing inequities based on cultural differences have been magnified, perhaps most recently evident in George Floyd’s slaying and the subsequent #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations across the globe. Learning to be an ally for diverse communities and working towards the betterment of all people is a goal of social work education. We argue that simple allyship is not enough given the structural inequities present in North America and Australia the civil unrest amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Social work education’s focus should trend towards allegiance with disadvantaged communities or critical allyship and include a commitment to undertake decisive actions to redress the entrenched colonial, capitalist, systemic and structural inequities that oppress many and provide unearned privilege and advantage to others. We explore strategies used in classrooms to promote allegiance and make recommendations for social work education, policy, and practice in this time of change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Work Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sept 2021


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