#iamher: Anjanette Young Speaks Truth to Power

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Affilia-Journal of Women and Social Work

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In early 2019, Anjanette Young was getting ready to launch her new business in her native Chicago, mentoring social workers to complete their licensure exam. Anjanette, who has two master’s degrees, one in human services and one in social work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Chicago, was just doing what she had always done, lighting the passions of young people and coaching them to be of service to others. On February 21, 2019, as Anjanette undressed and prepared to go to bed, 12 white male police officers broke through her front door. The 45 minutes of terror that ensued unalterably changed her life. But, as Anjanette’s own story reveals, it did not end her life or her mission—despite the frightening likelihood of either of those outcomes.

In this editorial, Anjanette generously shares her story with the readers of Affilia. We include extended excerpts from an 80-minute conversation we had with Anjanette and end with a response to her story and the connections we have drawn to our critical feminist social work community. As a committed and lifelong social worker and woman of faith thrust into an unforeseen role as a public social justice warrior, Anjanette’s words speak volumes about the deeply entrenched injustices of policing in America and the battle for truth-telling and social change that she asks us all to join. “#IAmHer” is a campaign she is beginning that not only draws the line from Anjanette Young to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black EMT who was killed by police on March 13, 2020, but links all who have suffered and continue to suffer the systemic invisibility, dehumanization, and death forces that remain the everyday reality for black women and girls across America.


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