April 28, 2014
MSW students in Assistant Professor Ramona Beltrán's winter quarter course, "Empowerment Practice with Diverse Communities," didn't just read books to complete their assignments. They wrote one themselves. Now their book is attracting national attention as a resource for students in other universities' social work programs.
Entitled J(our)ney: Genpowerment, the book is a community-based anthology that includes poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, digital photography, drawings and sketches representing student and student-curated reflections on power, privilege, oppression and the meaning of empowerment.
"The book is an example of using narrative techniques to engage critical and creative consciousness for social change," Beltrán explains. Within days of its publication, social work professors from three universities expressed interest in incorporating the anthology into their syllabi.
Beltrán's MSW course explores empowerment practice and community organizing as social work intervention methods. Students examine the challenges and promises of community practice in today's world and with diverse groups, while learning community organizing techniques and community capacity-building models. Other topics include critical, progressive and liberatory approaches to community practice, narrative and creative expression practice skills, ethical issues in community practice, and social work for social justice.
J(our)ney: Genpowerment is available for purchase online at Createspace and Amazon. All proceeds will be donated to Cafe Cultura, a Denver nonprofit organization that promotes unity among Indigenous peoples through creative expression, and to the As/Us Reach the Rez Campaign, which provides outreach to youth and community by sending copies of an indigenous women's literary journal to schools, libraries, community centers and reservations.