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About Us

About The NOABSW

 NOABSW was created on November 12, 1973, in New Orleans, Louisiana by Millie Charles, Odessa Johnson, Richwell Ison, and B. M. Priestley a group of Black Social Workers. Those Black Social Workers ultimately became the founders of the New Orleans Association of Black Social Workers. This corporation is a non-profit corporation as defined in Section 201(7) of the “Non-profit Corporation Law” of the State of Louisiana and Section 501 C (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. in 1981, Dr. Morris F.X. Jeff, Jr. developed the Harambee Closing Ceremony for the annual conference in honor of our African culture and our brothers and sisters throughout the African Diaspora. Harambee is a Kiswahili word that translates as "pulling together” or "we all pull together.” In 1993, this closing ceremony was renamed the Morris F.X. Jeff Harambee Ceremony to honor his legacy and immeasurable contributions to NABSW. 



To design and develop systems relevant to the needs of Black people. 

To work to the end that all minorities and poor people will have available the full spectrum of welfare and social services. 

To help minorities and poor people overcome the effects of racism and poverty. 

To advocate the cause of minorities and poor people and engage in social planning and social action which will advance the welfare of minorities and poor people.

To achieve the maximum realization of the black and minority potential for a social, economic and political power base.

To bring about a continuous evaluation of the performance of social workers, especially as they affect the black community.



The New Orleans Association of Black Social Workers, Inc. (NOABSW) comprised of people of African ancestry, is committed to enhancing the quality of life and empowering people of African ancestry through advocacy, human services delivery, and research. 

Our mission is to work to create a world in which people of African ancestry will live free from racial domination, economic exploitation, and cultural oppression. In collaboration with national, international, and other appropriate groups, NOABSW will continue to leverage its collective expertise to strategically develop the capacity of people of African ancestry to sustain and flourish.


 NOABSW’s vision is guided by the Principles of the Nguzo Saba, which are Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Our vision is also guided by the Seven Cardinal Virtues of Ma’at, which are Right, Truth, Justice, Order, Reciprocity, Balance, and Harmony. 


NOABSW is designed to promote the welfare, survival, and liberation of the Black Community; and to advocate for social change at the national, state, and local level. NOABSW is comprised of over 92 members, and over 3 university and college student chapters throughout the New Orleans area. Membership is available to persons of African ancestry who, regardless of profession, share similar concerns regarding health and welfare issues in the Black community.


In America today, no Black person, except the selfish or irrational, can claim neutrality in the quest for Black liberation nor fail to consider the implications of the events taking place in our society. Given the necessity for committing ourselves to the struggle for freedom, we as Black Americans practicing in the field of social welfare set forth this statement of ideals and guiding principles.


If a sense of community awareness is a precondition to humanitarian acts, then we as Black social workers must use our knowledge of the Black community, our commitments to its self-determination, and our helping skills for the benefit of Black people as we marshal our expertise to improve the quality of life of Black people. Our activities will be guided by our Black consciousness, our determination to protect the security of the Black community, and to serve as advocates to relieve the suffering of Black people by any means necessary.


Therefore, as Black social workers we commit ourselves, collectively, to the interests of our Black brethren and as individuals subscribe to the following statements:


I regard as my primary obligation the welfare of the Black individual, Black family, and Black community and will engage in action for improving social conditions. 


I give precedence to this mission over my personal interest.

I adopt the concept of a Black extended family and embrace all Black people as my brothers and sisters, making no distinction between their destiny and my own.

I hold myself responsible for the quality and extent of service I perform, and the quality and extent of service performed by the agency or organization in which I am employed, as it relates to the Black community.


I accept the responsibility to protect the Black community against the unethical and hypocritical practices by any individual or organization engaged in social welfare activities.


I stand ready to supplement my paid or professional advocacy with voluntary service in the Black public interest.


I will consciously use my skills, and my whole being as an instrument for social change, with attention directed to the establishment of Black social institutions.

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