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Bobby Marvin Holmes – LMSW, Alum 2019 Father, Husband, Social Worker, Founder of Son of a Dream. #sonofadream #reflectionofus

by Morgan State U
August 08, 2022

My matriculation to Morgan State University’s School of Social Work was about preparing myself to make a more significant impact. Years prior, I worked as a paraprofessional working with Black boys and their families throughout Baltimore City in predominantly urban communities. This experience helped me to develop insight into their challenges and strengths. I knew Morgan would give me the necessary tools to be successful as a social worker. However, I did not know this experience would grant me the opportunity to grow as a scholar and advocate.

One of my first courses was social policy. I was eager to explore and learn more about how public policy shapes my community. On my first day of classes, my professor Dr. Denise McLane-Davison said we would be examining the U.S. Department of Justice investigative report that found the Baltimore City Police Department participated in a “pattern and practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.” I became excited about this assignment because the report was an important document to analyze and reflect on because of what it could mean.

Probably the most affirming moment is when Dr. Davison said to her class, “I teach freedom fighters.” I can’t know how my peers felt at the time. However, I felt seen. I felt like my passion for addressing the challenges of my community was shared. I felt like I was at the right place. I earned a graduate assistantship with Dr. Davison, which led me to learn and study RBA. This evaluation framework measures progress for various entities, including organizations, programs, and more. As a graduate assistant, I assisted with evaluating a training using RBA. I co-authored my first academic journal article with Dr. Davison, Dr. Sharlene Allen-Milton, and Dr. Paul Archibald. This graduate assistantship allowed me to conduct my own RBA project and present at MSU SSW’s annual Urban Social Work Day.

My RBA project was focused on increasing political participation within the Black community. At the time, I was interning for the ACLU of Maryland’s division for education policy. I was tasked with acquiring signatures for letters of support to pass legislation that would improve school facilities for Baltimore City students. I successfully gained a significant number of support letters and organized students to testify on behalf of the bill during the Maryland legislative session. My efforts resulted in the bill passing into law.

Morgan allowed me to practice social work from the micro to the macro. This was a necessary experience I needed to engage challenges within urban communities. I challenged myself by advocating for youth in IEP meetings or testifying in front of lawmakers to address systemic issues. I am grateful for the journey and the people that have poured into me.