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Central Indiana Chapter ABSW
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The Central Indiana Chapter was chartered on June 29, 1985 as the “Indianapolis Chapter” in an historic ceremony at Flanner House by NABSW National President, William Merritt. Our theme was “Linking the Strengths of the Past To Future Challenges”.  Our 13 visionary Founders and Charter Members included: Lovada Merriweather,  President; Lucy Roberts Cannon; Wanda Carpenter Goodloe, Secretary; Cynthia Donel; Gershon Gamor; Frankye E. Johnson-Shelby; Charlotte Lillard; Pamela Hall Morrison Lawrence; Kanya Oliver; Dr. Theresa L. Roberts, Treasurer; Marcene Royster; Chez Rusununguko; and, Annette Ward.  We are honored that, after nearly 3 decades of service, several of our charter members continue to affiliate with our Chapter.


Our roots are intertwined with those of local African American organizations in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the pioneers of the first NABSW Indianapolis Chapter in the 1970s.  We rose up to mobilize for liberation by living our core principles and the Code of Ethics. In spite of the challenges, we have linked the strengths of the past to retain our charter since 1985.  We reincorporated as the “Central Indiana Chapter” in 2005, and attained our 501c3 status in 2006. In 2013, we changed our name to “Central Indiana ABSW, Inc.”


Our Chapter has established a rich tradition of community, organizational, family, and professional empowerment initiatives over 29 years. Some of the exemplary programs we planted include: Annual Juneteenth & Rites of Passage Graduation Celebrations; Kwanzaa & Annual Meeting Celebrations; student support, mentoring, and scholarships totaling over $20,000. We instituted the Dr. Theresa L. Roberts National Book Scholarship in   2012. We established the social work licensure course, and to date, eight of the graduates have attained their licenses. Our community service programs address key issues such as violence, family development, and crisis support. We mounted advocacy, voter registration, and education initiatives; Annual Black Book Drives; leadership awards; THE GRIOT Newsletter; and, Spirituality, Leadership, and African Centered Social Work Conferences. We have also served as a support to other chapters, especially those in the Midwest region.



Each year, we have collaborated with over 50 social work, community, government, business, academic, and faith-based organizations in educational, research, advocacy, and service initiatives to benefit the African American community. We also sustain collaborations with local organizations that are committed to empowering people of African ancestry. Among our many proclamations and honors, we received Indiana Minority Health Coalition of Marion County 25th Anniversary Community Partnership Award and the 2010 U.S. Census Community Partner Award. Our members extended the Chapter’s reach far beyond these organizations as they enhanced their professional development, presented workshops and in services, provided consultation, published scholarly works, attended rallies, received awards, provided quality services, and networked around the globe. Over the last four years, our Chapter, in collaboration with community partners, have contributed several thousand dollars to the Siyazigabisa Home of Hope in South Africa, to provide safety, security, and resources to those affected by HIV/AIDS.


In 1987, our Chapter hosted the NABSW Steering Committee in collaboration with Indiana Black Expo. In July 2008, we served as the Steering Committee hosts for the second time, and cohosted the 41st National Conference with the Louisville KY Chapter in 2009. In 2014, our Chapter was honored to host the first National Conference held in Indiana. The 46th NABSW Annual National Conference was conducted on April 15-18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. This highly successful professional development event was organized around the theme "An African Tapestry:  The Blackprint for Physical, Psychosocial, and Spiritual Wellness".


Our Chapter continues to grow statewide and is blessed with strong NABSW linkages and is well-represented on the national and regional levels. Some of our recent national awards include: 2011, 2012, & 2013 Presidential Award for the Most Increased Members; 2014 Cenie Jumo Williams Chapter Award; and others.   Our dedicated  Co- Presidents, Frankye E. Johnson-Shelby (who co-authored the NABSW Emergency Preparedness Manual) and Dayvid H. Brown (who was the first Indiana member elected to hold a national office), are leading a dynamic core of members as build on our strengths, infuse new leadership, and implement our advocacy mission. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th Anniversary in June, 2015!


Frankye E. Johnson-Shelby, MSW, LCSW, LMFT, LMHC, LCAC
National Health & Wellness Committee; Co-Chair: Trauma & Crisis Management Task Force; SCM Representative


Dayvid H. Brown, MS, MA, RBC

Co-President; Member-at-Large, National Executive Board; Midwest Regional Membership Chair



 Vice President


Dr. Theresa L. Roberts, MSW, LCSW, ACSW

Recording Secretary      


Like us on Facebook ABSW Central Indiana Chapter, Inc.


Contact us at: Central Indiana Association of Black Social Workers, Inc.
P.O. Box 20149,  Indianapolis, IN  46220-0149

Voicemail (317) 767-5502




NABSW has some amazing people in the community doing some amazing work! We want people to know the extent of the efforts NABSW members are putting forth to improve their communities. If you feel a chapter or individual has gone above and beyond, then send in a brief statement (150 words or less), describing their community contribution and a clear picture (if available) and then check back often! Submit your information HERE!

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