Fighting an Anti-Social Work Agenda: Building a Better World #MacroSW Chat, May 4th at 9pm EST

Update: Chat archive now available!

qffmtLxuKreNweJeOLZ9lqbPThtaUDxnjbyg9XoCCnimIpcsfRY9X5hx-3wemIOQ1z2hlhJmiA9-W2F5GFWpCIa8LJhrgFOnHFb8sYe1PuMBGNAPhjAlJ9AU0YDkyn66PepH83UK.png

The organizing chat series was born out of a need to fight back against an anti-social work agenda being pushed by the current president and his administration, but also to start a dialogue about the role of social work in organizing and direct action. Is our work simply to ameliorate the suffering of the oppressed or is it to transform systems to end oppression?

Now more than 100 days into a new presidential administration, this question–and the answer to it–is becoming increasingly critical.

Many social workers are engaging in various forms of resistance both individually and collectively. Whether developing new programs and resources for oppressed people being increasingly marginalized, advocating for policy change, or participating in public actions, social workers are on the front lines in the fight for a just and equitable society. But what does that society look like and how do we get there?

fighting-anti-sw-agenda-twitter.jpg

This discussion is the last in the first ever #MacroSW organizing chat series. The first chat focused on understanding power as organized people and organized money. The second chat discussed how we can effectively build relationships to develop grassroots power. The third chat focused on the power of protest as a tactic among many to achieve strategic change. How can we now take these concepts into the real world? And to what end?

In the fourth chat of the series, we will answer the following questions:

  1. What is your vision for a world consistent with social work values?
  2. What needs to change to make make your vision for a better world a reality? What are you doing to make that happen?
  3. Which social work skills do you think are most useful in your work to build a better world?
  4. How can #MacroSW help? What topics would you like to see discussed in future organizing chats?

About the Host
IMG_20170120_121533_860.jpgJustin 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.

Fighting an Anti-Social Work Agenda: The Power of Protest #MacroSW Chat 4/13 at 9pm EST

Update: Chat archive available!

Masthead-Saul-Alinksy-copy.jpg

At first glance, social work may not appear to be intrinsically linked to protest. After all, we’re more likely to be found working behind a cluttered desk or our car between home visits. But in the earliest days of the profession social workers were integrated within the communities they served. Settlement houses were often used as meeting locations for community activists to organize strikes and other public demonstrations.

null
Image source. Photograph shows the American delegates to the International Congress of Women which was held at the Hague, the Netherlands in 1915. The delegates include: feminist and peace activist Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence (1867-1954), social activist and writer Jane Addams (1860-1935), and Annie E. Malloy, president of the Boston Telephone Operators Union. To the right of Malloy may be labor journalist and activist Mary Heaton Vorst (1874-1966) and the woman wearing a hat on the far right may be Lillian Kohlhamer of Chicago. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2012)

Since the election of Donald Trump, America has seen a resurgence in public activism in

unnamed-1
Left to right: Rudra Kapila, Sunya Folayan, Karen Zgoda, Kristin Battista-Frazee at the Women’s March in DC, January 2017. See more #MacroSW at the March here.

the form of mass protests and actions. Social workers of course have taken part in many of these actions as individuals or small groups, but our profession’s collective presence has been limited. The current administration has taken many actions that are explicitly contrary to social work values. With calls from the NASW and other social work institutions to organize, oppose, resist, and educate in response to an anti-social work agenda, it is time for social workers to consider how we can take bolder action to resist unjust policies.

Fighting Anti-SW Agenda Twitter.png

This discussion continues the #MacroSW organizing chat series. The first chat focused on understanding power as organized people and organized money. The second chat discussed how we can effectively build relationships to develop grassroots power. How can we now take these concepts to develop public demonstrations of our power? And to what end? In the third chat of the series, we will answer the following questions:

Q1: Have you ever taken part in an action (rally, protest, disruption, etc)? What was it? Describe the experience. #MacroSW

Q2: Was the action effective? Why or why not? If so, what did it achieve? #MacroSW

Q3: Are there specific forms of protest or tactics you think social workers should be engaging in? #MacroSW

Q4: Do you have plans to participate in an upcoming action? What is it? If not, what would you like to see in your area? #MacroSW

About the Host

Justin 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.

#MacroSW Organizing Chat 2: Building Relationships 3/2 at 9pm ET

Update: Chat archive is now available!
otupa1qvrelmmztkthdvlii0dvaffyko_k_xpzzqpiharv9ejqnewo2regenyjwuov2nd5qtpxjzepntvl6jtit8xb-itxqrrlbwxnbmb85lzan3vktjajxxtjyhcsby9buch19As the new presidential administration comes into power, basic assumptions about the role of government in assisting the most marginalized have been thrown into question. 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?

fighting-anti-sw-agenda-twitter

In the first chat of this series, we discussed power–how it’s defined, who has it, and how we build it. To build the power we need for change requires organized people or organized money. In this week’s chat, we will discuss how to build the relationships needed to effectively organize. What starts as a small group of likeminded people can grow into a network of activists driving a movement.

The most important component of organizing, like social work, is listening and building relationships. We must meet people where they are and forge connections based on empathy, shared experiences, or common interests. This development of trust allows us to ask people to take necessary actions they may not ordinarily take–attending a protest or challenging an elected official–in a way that isn’t transactional, but based on mutual self-interest and respect.

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

  1. Organizing builds public relationships which differ from personal or professional ones. What do you think this means?
  2. How would you engage stakeholders to start organizing around an issue you care about?
  3. Do you see a unique role for social work institutions to build relationships for change?
  4. Once you’ve established public relationships for organizing, what do you think is the next step to address an issue?
  5. What will you do in the next month to organize around around the issue of your choice?

Resources:

About the HostQqXY63jEj1wbBoicVsEaQjGfuDlpZCo8Xk8T4KinZTZcZT9U3sPkz6_NTKAIrmeTRJJD1X2hwwQNBPuWdgNTzwsqRdzIL6RGlQ7LjWleiZlI08MQ1maO-VeWIKaxgKcdaVnMTmgX.jpg

Justin 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.

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

fighting-anti-sw-agenda-twitter

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.

#MacroSW Chat Sept. 8: Moving from Conversation to Action

convo_to_action

View Chat Archive

As we celebrated our last day of summer this Labor Day weekend, let’s not forget the true intention of the holiday is to recognize the labor movement and its workers. In this spirit let’s talk about how a conversation among like-minded people becomes a social change movement. There isn’t a straightforward path to creating a movement but our profession is full of stellar examples and social workers who have taken an idea or a wish and turned it into an actionable cause. Join us for the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) to discuss moving from conversation to action.

Advocacy happens every day in big and small ways and in communities across the country. We don’t have to look far for examples. Consider the 10 NASW chapters who are collectively advocating to keep their decision-making power and the recent unveiling of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s mental health agenda which in this election year we can play an active role to shape this policy.  There are many other tangible change initiatives social workers can participate in. We can look to history too, such as the labor, civil rights, and women’s movement, and appreciate that monumental change is possible.

This chat is to follow up on our July post conversation to action, in the wake of the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the sniper attack on Dallas police, which encouraged people to share advocacy activities happening in communities in our crowdsourcing document to curate a list of places where you could share your social work expertise.

On this chat, we’ll discuss things happening right now, as well as pay homage to our profession’s history of moving conversations to advocacy work. Social injustice has not only outraged us but motivated organizing efforts. Social workers have artful weaved a “feet on the ground” approach with theory and are skilled at collaboration to guide community organizing work.

For this chat, we’ll discuss the following questions.

  1. What was the tipping point that pushed you to work on a cause or issue?
  2. How has social media played a key role in your activism?
  3. Share tactics which have helped you or your organization solve a community problem?
  4. What issues are you currently working on and where do you need additional help in your community?
  5. Share events or initiatives where social workers can be involved in a cause. Also, add to our crowdsourcing Google doc so we can Tweet about them later!

Resources

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. 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 chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com

Conversation to Action

Christian Joudrey
Photo credit: Christian Joudrey via Unsplash

The shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the sniper attack on Dallas police is stirring racial tensions and left us saddened, grieving and questioning how we move forward to create more just and safe communities. We are loudly saying enough is enough across social media and in quiet conversations with friends, family and colleagues.  We’re tired of condolence statements and outraged by the little or no action by elected officials and leaders in our communities.

Social workers are uniquely equipped and want to constructively solve these challenging problems and create real solutions. After all, it’s in our DNA to act, advocate and heal, whether it’s through smarter gun control, access to mental health treatment or legislation, political participation and policy work. We will tackle inequities still prevalent, unacknowledged and exploited for political purposes. Many right now are fighting the good fight, and we’re ready to roll-up our sleeves to do more but how, when and where we can jump in is a big question for some of us.

Our #MacroSW group will direct our activities to engage our vast network of social workers who are ready to go beyond conversation to action and plug into current advocacy activities happening in communities.  We will be sharing on @OfficialMacroSW about events, letter writing campaigns, or policy initiatives that need our support and participation. Also you can:

  • Join and contribute to this Google document which will curate an ongoing list of events, activities, petitions, rally dates, etc. on a national and local level in which you can actively participate in to make a difference. This crowdsourcing effort will create a robust listing of places you can plug into and apply your social work expertise.
  • Got an idea for chat for us to discuss an advocacy effort? Contact us by direct message on @OfficialMacroSW, comment here or email kbfrazee@gmail.com or officialmacrosw@gmail.com to let us know so we can schedule time in our weekly chats and offer our platform to curate the best ideas and research to help your cause.
  • Post on the #MacroSW hashtag anytime to continue to collaborate and have conversations. Please share resources and ideas.
  • Check out the new public list, Stop the Violence, on @OfficialMacroSW that curates a collection of resources, organizations and individuals who are also taking action.
  • Two great reference lists have been developed to educate the public, social workers, and advocates as to why Black Lives Matter:  Understanding Systematic Oppression in the United States:  A Reference List for #BlackLivesMatter, and Race and Policing Research.

It will take all of us in big and small ways to change our country’s current path, and as social workers, we will do what we have always done, give people who can’t speak or act for themselves a voice.

July 14, 2016