Fighting an Anti-Social Work Agenda: Understanding Power #MacroSW 2/2 at 9pm EST

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Chat archive now available!

As the new presidential administration comes into power, basic assumptions about the role of government in assisting the most marginalized have been thrown into question. Regardless of your political affiliation, social workers should be deeply concerned about proposed changes to social service programs and the government agencies that administer them.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has called on social workers to organize, oppose, resist, and educate in response to the anti-social work agenda that is being put forward by the new administration. But how do we actually proceed?

#MacroSW is introducing a organizing chat series to educate social workers on the important role they play in resisting cuts to services and advancing social justice in their communities by teaching basic community organizing skills that will move social workers from an online space to real world action.

In the first chat of the series, we will discuss the concept of  power–who has it, what structures support it, but also how to build our own to confront injustice. For most of us, power does not come naturally. We have all been disadvantaged in some way by a lack of power–through economic oppression, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism or based on some other characteristic. Therefore learning to want power can be challenging. But social workers also have a unique relationship to power. We may experience personal oppression from society while working at institutions that uphold traditional power structures.  

To take a closer look at these concepts, we will discuss the following questions:

  1. How do you define power and how do you know it when you see it?
  2. Who has power in our society and why?
  3. What role does social work play in maintaining or challenging current power structures?
  4. How can advocates for justice build power to challenge inequality
  5. What new or existing opportunities do you see for yourself to build power?

Resources:

About the Host

img_20170120_121533_860Justin Vest is the lead organizer for Montgomery County at Progressive Maryland where he leads issue-based advocacy campaigns and develops volunteer organizers to fight for social and economic justice. He earned his BSW from the University of Montevallo and MSW from the University of Alabama before relocating to the DC Metro area.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Social Work: #MacroSW 1/19 at 9pm ET

gis1/19/17 New Resources:

  1. GIS PowerPoint Presentation and Treasure Hunt GIS activity from Robert Vernon, ACSW, Ph.D. Here is some information from Bob about these resources:
    1. Narrative for the opening PowerPoint slides:The cave drawing of a horse could be possibly directions on where to locate a weir and drive ’em off a cliff for a winter’s supply of horse-meat.   Sort of an early add for Safeway or Krogers…  (My interpretation)The Romans had extensive tax and census records on an individualized bases throughout the empire.The Domesday book was a complete census to inventory all of William’s holdings.The shot of Jane Addams includes ethnicity maps they created to pinpoint where various nationalities and cultures lived near Hull House.  The complete set is on display at Hull House over the fireplace.

  2. Chat Storify Archive!
  3. Chat statistics!

Geographic information systems (GIS) technologies have become a commonplace part of our daily lives. However, GIS technologies can also be used in social work practice for a variety of purposes including planning, education, and evaluation. Social work has a history with mapping going back to Jane Addams and her colleagues at Hull House. GIS mapping also seems to be a good fit given the person-in-environment perspective of the social work profession. While some social work professionals have adopted GIS technologies in their work, it has been a slow process overall.

GIS software has become more user-friendly but issues related to costs and the ethical use of data have hampered the growth of GIS technologies in social work. This chat will examine the potential uses of GIS technologies in social work practice. We will also explore potential issues with the application of GIS technologies in social work and how these can be overcome to promote their expanded use.

Join us for the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) to discuss uses of geographic information systems in social work.

This topic is based on chat host Dr. Thomas Felke’s (@SocWrkDoc) work using GIS to examine various topics including poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity.

Questions to Discuss

  1. How do you currently use mapping technologies in your daily life?
  2. How do you think GIS could be used for your work?
  3. What ethical issues do you think arise with the use of GIS in social work?
  4. Why do you think the adoption of GIS technologies has been slow in social work?
  5. What would you need to incorporate GIS into your practice?

Resources