Spirituality and Social Justice

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Webinar Summary:

On the whole the social work literature has insufficiently plumbed the interface of spirituality and social justice for insights into how spirituality inspires a commitment to social justice and how engagement in struggles for social justice deepens spirituality. Thus, the political dimension of the spiritual in the quest for a just world remains underdeveloped and often unnamed in discussions of spirituality and social work practice. In this webinar the presenters highlight key learnings from their recently published book Spirituality and Social Justice: Spirit in the Political Quest for a Just World. They explore the connections between spirituality and social justice and how spirituality can be a powerful force for social justice in social work.

Webinar Key Objectives: 
  • To explore the connections between spirituality and social justice activism. 
  • To accentuate a critical conceptualization of spirituality as a spiritual-political endeavor oriented toward social justice and structures of colonialism, power, and oppression.   
  • To foster a collective understanding of the ethical and political dimensions of spirituality in social and ecological justice-based social work.
  • To encourage self-reflection on how spirituality can guide a commitment to social and ecological justice.    

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Norma Jean Profitt


Norma Jean Profitt has a long history of activism in feminist movements in Canada and Costa Rica, particularly in the area of violence against women and girls. From 1999 to 2011, she was associate professor in the School of Social Work, St. Thomas University, where she taught “Women and Social Work” and developed the first course on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and Two-Spirit peoples and social work. At the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, University of New Brunswick, she developed the inaugural course “International Perspectives on Violence against Women” for the Certificate in Family Violence Issues. In 2016 she received a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, honouring Canadians who advance gender equality. In 2017, she was presented with the Diane Kays Memorial Award by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers for her passion for social justice, activism in the area of violence against women, and exceptional professional and ethical standards.

Cyndy Baskin


Cyndy Baskin is of Mi’kmaq and Celtic descent and currently associate professor in the School of Social Work, Ryerson University. Her clan is the fish and her spirit name translates as something like “The Woman Who Passes on the Teachings.” Cyndy’s teaching, research, and writing interests involve how Indigenous worldviews can inform education, spirituality, social justice, and the helping professions, as well as anti-violence work toward Indigenous women and girls. She is the writer of numerous journal articles and the author of three books, including Strong helpers’ teachings: The value of Indigenous knowledges in the helping professions (2016).

Alexandra Zannis



Alexandra is the Social Policy and Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Association of Social Workers. (She/Her) Alexandra est la Coordinatrice des politiques et du communication de l'Association canadienne des travailleuses et travailleurs sociaux (Ella/La)