NASW-IL Statement in Support of the Anjanette Young Ordinance
NASW-Illinois Chapter Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (NASW-IL DEIC)
The National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL) stands in solidarity with and in support of Anjanette Young and the proposed legislation created in her honor, the Anjanette Young Ordinance. This ordinance would, among other requirements, ban no-knock warrants, require that officers wait at least 30 seconds during knock and announce raids to give residents a chance to open the door to their home, thus implementing common sense policy and procedural changes surrounding warrants and safeguarding the human rights of Chicago citizens. Some members of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) cruelly and maliciously violated Ms. Young’s rights when, in February 2019, they raided Ms. Young’s home based on false information. Ms. Young’s trauma was compounded by the failure of Chicago’s city government to appropriately respond to this raid with the city’s inspector general’s office being unable to even recommend disciplinary action for the officers involved.
We as social workers recognize that both explicit bias and implicit bias were demonstrated by these Chicago police officers that night. Explicit bias, wherein an individual has conscious awareness of their biased actions, was shown by the officers when one of them put a jacket on Ms. Young for 13 seconds, another gave her a blanket 10 minutes later, and when a female officer arrived, Ms. Young was finally allowed to get dressed. The officers knew that their refusal to allow Ms. Young to dress was wrong, as is demonstrated by these brief and feeble attempts to ameliorate the situation. The officers also demonstrated implicit bias, which is a form of bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally but nevertheless affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors. The raid itself demonstrated implicit bias as the information that a man with a weapon was living with Ms. Young was not vetted; it was automatically assumed and accepted that as a Black woman, Ms. Young would be living with an armed man because violence is considered to be a way of life for Black people to the biased officers. Additionally, implicit bias was shown by Ms. Young not being allowed any dignity or modesty but was callously forced to stand unclothed, shivering, exposed, and embarrassed as 12 men walked and gawked around her. Their behavior shows that Ms. Young was not considered to be a lady deserving of respectful treatment but rather was just a female and a Black one at that, so no such humanity need be extended to her as it would have been to a white woman in the same circumstance. How long must the citizens of Chicago be subjected to trauma and inhumane treatment at the hands of the CPD? Ms. Young’s treatment is not an isolated incident. It is an example of perpetuation of an egregious culture of policing which exists in Chicago and which disproportionately victimizes the BIPOC community. Unfortunately, the CPD has a long-standing history of traumatic and abusive practices.
Systemic oppression, racial discrimination, and the misappropriation of power has been ingrained in the culture of policing since the founding of Chicago. The money for civilian payouts for police misconduct overwhelmingly comes from taxpayers and is generated through fees and taxes. The fact that Chicago taxpayers are expected to shoulder the burden and responsibility of police brutality through settlements is financially irresponsible. In 2021, “the City of Chicago authorized nearly $67 million in settlement payments because of police misconduct,” all of it paid off the backs of taxpayers. We don’t right wrongs with payouts, we right wrongdoing through policy changes!
As social workers, we are held to ethical standards which guide how we practice, engage with, and treat the clients whom we serve. We question why police are exempt from exercising the same standards when engaging with citizens. We are calling on the members of the Chicago City Council to ensure justice by passing legislation which enacts meaningful police reforms that will put an end to barbaric police culture and will promote a culture of accountability—passage of the Anjanette Young Ordinance is one powerful step towards this goal.
We at the NASW-Illinois Chapter continue to express our support and solidarity with fellow licensed clinical social worker Ms. Anjanette Young and with the passage of the Anjanette Young Ordinance. Although this legislation does not erase the trauma and harm done to Ms. Young and others who have been similarly victimized, the enactment of this legislation is a powerful move towards rebuilding community trust.
Goudie, C., Markoff, B., Tressel, C., and et al. “Chicago has authorized nearly $67M in police misconduct settlement payments so far this year” ABC News, Monday, December 13, 2021, https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-police-department-misconduct-payout/11336008/
NASW-IL Statement on Violence Against Anjanette Young, LCSW. December 16, 2020. https://www.naswil.org/post/nasw-il-statement-on-violence-against-anjanette-young-lcsw
National Institute of Health. (2022, June 3). Implicit Bias. https://diversity.nih.gov/sociocultural-factors/implicit-bias
Perception Institute. (2022, November 8). Explicit Bias. https://perception.org/research/explicit-bias/
The NASW-Illinois Chapter Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (NASW-IL DEIC) works to promote the NASW programs and efforts that encourage awareness, respect, and appreciation of diversity in the social work profession and our society. Its particular focus includes race and ethnic diversity, social justice, women advancement, and sexual orientation (LGBTTQQIAAP) issues.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20.000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.