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Revealing and Challenging Systems of Oppression

Terence Fitzgerald, PhD, EdM, MSW

Clinical Associate Professor, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California

image of Terance Fitzgerald

Revealing and Challenging Systems of Oppression

“Before graduating from the University of Illinois MSW program in 1997 with a specialization in School Social Work, I was accepted into the PhD program in the School of Education. At the time, I had so many questions regarding institutional and racialized oppression. I was engulfed in thoughts regarding the historical effects on male students of color. While completing my MSW internship in two public schools in Champaign, Illinois, I witnessed the ramifications of historical racialized oppression. My childhood growing up as a Black male child, as well as my internship experiences working with males of color, pushed me to seek answers regarding not only why racialized oppression existed in public schooling, but specifically methods of revealing and challenging systems of oppression.

After the completion of my PhD in educational policies studies, I dove into the field, the front-line, rather than the academy. I wanted to take my educational racial scholarship, MSW skills, and internal call for social justice to champion those society has deemed “other” in public schools. Over 12 years in the field, I worked as a school social worker and performed quasi-administrative duties related to my background in racial scholarship and education policy. At the end of my 12th year, I sensed the call of the academy. That is what brought me to the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. As a clinical associate professor, I continue to research, publish, and spotlight the lived experiences of boys and men of color. I have been blessed to train and educate both MSW and doctoral students regarding the challenge of serving and championing populations in need within the 21st century through a racialized and oppression lens. In terms of the public, I use my skills and experiences in media appearances, conferences, etc. to bring forth conversations and concerns of populations seen as invisible to the masses. I attempt to bring light to social and racialized injustice within the U.S.”

-Terence Fitzgerald, PhD, EdM, MSW


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