Advocacy in Social Work Practice: #MacroSW Chat March 26, 2015

by University at Buffalo School of Social Work #UBSSW

(see the Storify summary here: )

image: Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning
image: Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning

Advocacy is the heart of social work.

The NASW Code of Ethics addresses this in the Preamble:

“Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living…[we] strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.”

All six ethical principles – service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence – can be applied to advocacy in macro, mezzo and micro areas of social work practice.

Here are some questions for our discussion:

  1. How do you define advocacy?
  2. What have been your own experiences of advocacy?
  3. What skills are needed to be an effective advocate?
  4. If you are a SW educator or student: what is taught about advocacy in your school?
  5. How can we measure outcomes of advocacy?
  6. What are current issues for bettering the SW profession?

We hope you will join us this Thursday at 9pm ET / 8 PM CT / 6 PM PT !


NASW Advocacy page

The ABCs of Lobbying

Dalrymple, J. and Boylan, J. (2013). Effective Advocacy in Social Work. London: Sage.

Social Worker & Professor Kristie Holmes’ Run for Congress:

Vice-President Inonge Wina of Zambia: Social Work Prepared Her for Politics

How Social Workers Can Engage Congress in the Pursuit of Social Justice / Network for Social Work Management

Student Reflections on the 2015 Legislative Action Day

Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act

Freddolino, PP, Moxley, DP, Hyduk, CA (2004). A Differential Model of Advocacy in Social Work Practice, in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services 85:1, pp 119-128.

Payne, M. (Ed.) (2014) Modern Social Work Theory 4th Ed.   London: Palgrave Macmillan OR New York: St. Martin’s Press. See Chapter 11 Empowerment and Advocacy

How to Participate

To participate in the #MacroSW Twitter chat, go to the search box and enter the hashtag #MacroSW and then click on “all.” To join in the discussion include #MacroSW in all your tweets, including replies.

#MacroSW chats takes place on Twitter on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The chat is a collaboration between the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) @acosaorg, The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM) @TheNSWM, USC School of Social Work @MSWatUSC, the University at Buffalo School of Social Work @UBSSW, Karen Zgoda @karenzgoda, and Sunya Folayan @SunyaFolayan.


3/12/15 #MacroSW Twitter Chat: Inequality for All

Update 3/13/2015: What an amazing chat last night!

We had nearly 100 people who shared 740 posts in 60 minutes. Can we call this social media aerobics and can it please burn calories? Here are more chat statistics.

Here is the complete chat archive.

Here is a blog summary from our guest host Jimmy Young.

(Reposted from: 3/12/15 #MacroSW Twitter Chat: Inequality for All – MSW@USC)


The wealth gap between America’s upper-income and middle-income families has reached a record high. According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, in 2013, the median wealth of the nation’s upper-income families was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income families. This is the widest wealth gap seen in 30 years.

Is this trend of income inequality a problem? What does it mean for an economy that depends upon middle class spending? Have policy changes stacked the deck against the middle class? These are just a few of the questions we will explore in the next #MacroSW Twitter chat.

The MSW@USC Hosts #MacroSW

The MSW@USC is excited to host the next #MacroSW Twitter chat on Thursday, March 12, at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Join us for a live, interactive event in which social work professors Jimmy Young, of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Laurel Hitchcock, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will facilitate a discussion about the documentary film Inequality for All and important issues surrounding economic inequality.

Join the Conversation

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to connect with social work students, educators and practitioners from around the world. To participate:

  1. Watch the documentary Inequality for All. Take a few moments to write a brief statement about your reaction to the movie.
  2. Participate in the live Twitter chat using the hashtag #MacroSW. Tweet any questions or responses directed to the moderator @MSWatUSC and include #MacroSW in all of your tweets.
  3. Following the live chat, write a brief self-reflection essay about your experience of participating in this event.

The written parts of the assignment are optional and are not required to participate. However, we do encourage you to take some time to reflect upon what you learn from the film and the topics that are discussed in the chat. How might they inform your future social work practice?

Questions to Consider

When writing your reaction to the film, consider the following questions:

  1. What parts of the film did you find memorable and why?
  2. What aspects of the film were surprising to you?
  3. What single word best describes how the film made you feel?
  4. When do you think inequality becomes a problem?
  5. What do you see as the relationship between income inequality and democracy?
  6. What steps do you think social workers and others need to take to ensure that the economy works for everyone?

About the Film

Directed by Jacob Kornbluth, Inequality for All is a 2013 documentary film that examines the widening income gap in the United States. Using the stories of real people and real lives, the narrative explores the effects this increasing gap has not only on the U.S. economy but also on democracy itself. Presented by American economist, author and professor Robert Reich, the film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking. Inequality for All runs 1 hour and 29 minutes and the full film can be found on

About #MacroSW

Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis.

The University of Southern California School of Social Work (@MSWatUSC) hosts the #MacroSW Twitter chat in partnership with a number of esteemed community practice organizations and individual macro social workers. The chats are held bimonthly on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST).

Our collaborators include:

  • University at Buffalo School of Social Work (@ubssw)
  • Karen Zgoda, Instructor at Bridgewater State University (@karenzgoda)
  • Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (@acosaorg)
  • The Network for Social Work Management (@TheNSWM)
  • Sunya Folayan, MSW, ACSW, founder/executive director, The Empowerment Project, Inc. (@SunyaFolayan)

We look forward to tweeting with you there.

via 3/12/15 #MacroSW Twitter Chat: Inequality for All – MSW@USC.