A case study of a grassroots truth and reconciliation commission from a community practice perspective

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Abstract

Summary: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions represent an innovative model for social work practice. The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a community-based intervention that sought to address lingering social trauma and tension from a 1979 incident of racial violence in North Carolina. This case study analyzes the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission from a community practice perspective by highlighting relevant aspects of the intervention for social work practice. The intervention is examined along the community practice dimensions of context, theoretical basis, practice model, framing, strategy, and tactics. Each dimension is presented and related to a specific aspect of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission case. Findings: The historical context of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission includes legacies racism, labor exploitation, and violence that was pervasive in the U.S. south, as well as traditions of resistance to oppression. The theoretical underpinnings of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission include social constructionism and restorative justice. The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission falls within the community practice models of neighborhood and community organizing and community capacity development. The intervention was framed as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and incorporated a strategy of inclusiveness. The community practice tactics of fundraising, outreach and recruitment, research and investigation, and public hearings were employed. Applications: This article concludes with assessments of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s impact and implications for community practice, including current applications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission model in the U.S. Social workers working in communities can apply the Truth and Reconciliation Commission model and the specific community practice dimensions identified in the case study to empower communities and work to overcome legacies of social injustice, violence, and oppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-287
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Work
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

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Keywords

  • case study
  • community work
  • human rights
  • non-governmental organization
  • participation
  • reconciliation
  • social justice
  • Social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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