#MacroSW Chat 7/13/2017: Social Work in a Post-Election Nation

View the chat transcript.

The 2016 presidential election left many social workers wondering about the future of the profession and what Donald Trump’s victory would mean for social workers and the populations they serve. Now, more than eight months later, we’d like to hear about what you’ve been doing since the election.

Join us on Thursday, July 13, at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat co-hosted with Social Work Today (@SocialWorkToday). We’ll explore social work in a post-election nation, share ideas about how to get/stay involved in advocacy and discuss ways social workers can help heal the deep divisions exposed by the election.

Chat Questions:

  1. How has the election affected you as a social worker and the populations you serve (clients, students, etc.)?
  2. Has your involvement in political action/advocacy changed since the election? In what ways?
  3. What advice would you give a fellow social worker who wants to get more involved but isn’t sure how?
  4. Have you experienced “resistance fatigue”? How do you combat it?
  5. What can social workers do to foster respectful dialogue with individuals who have different political opinions?

Shortly after the election, Social Work Today magazine spoke with social workers around the country as they contemplated the effects of a Trump administration. Many worried about cuts to social programs, rollbacks of legislation protecting vulnerable groups, an exacerbation of income inequality and an increasing polarization of political discourse. As evidenced over the past several months, these fears were not an overreaction. Programs to help low-income people are on the chopping block, the Affordable Care Act is under threat, and immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ individuals worry about their safety. And the political environment in governments across the country seems more toxic than ever.

However, social workers also expressed hope that the election would ignite a new sense of purpose among social workers and drive them to more actively advocate, engage in the political process and educate people about the profession’s role in promoting equality. These hopes, too, have been largely realized, and social workers are more involved in political protests, reaching out to their legislators and even contemplating running for office. They also are standing up for people who may feel confused, anxious or threatened in a post-election world.

Resources:

Campbell, O. (2017, May 9). Liberals and conservatives are equally likely to seek out political bubbles. New York. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/05/the-right-and-left-are-both-bad-at-hearing-opposing-views.html

Dale, M. (2015). Social work tips for creating grassroots advocacy. NASW News, 60(6). Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/news/2015/06/grassroots-advocacy.asp

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Advancing the American agenda: How the social work profession will help. Retrieved from http://www.naswdc.org/advocacy/issues/EX-BRO-24617.TrumpTransitionBro.pdf

Reardon, C.C. (2017). Social work in a post-election nation: Facing challenges, encouraging hope. Social Work Today, 17(2). Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/032117p10.shtml

Weinstein, E. (2017, January 30). Are you experiencing resistance fatigue? HuffPost. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/are-you-experiencing-resistance-fatigue_us_588ff968e4b080b3dad6faf1

 

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 – Nov. 10, 2016: It’s the Post-Election Detox / What’s On Your Mind / Fall & Winter Holidays are Coming OPEN MIC!

A swirling spiral of red and blue lines with people swept along it, leading to a ballot box.
Image: Stephen Savage for the NY Times

 

Here’s the archive of this chat.

Results are in; the winner of the US Presidential Election has been announced. The #MacroSW partners want to let everyone know that we will not assume we know how our colleagues / students / chat participants voted. #MacroSW chat will remain non-partisan in our role as the facilitator of these gloriously wide-ranging, informative, and stimulating chats. We plan on this chat being- as we hope all our chats are – trauma-informed.*  We do expect people to be expressing feelings and opinions, with comments made in a safe and respectful way in line with the Code of Ethics and the history of macro social work.** Host Pat Shelly from @UBSSW will be using the @officialmacrosw handle to further align in a neutral position.

Votes will be in and counted; the political ads will disappear.  How will you recover from this election season? Or do you want to talk about ANYTHING BUT the impact of the election?

Join us for this open mic:

  • What’s on your mind?
  • Regaining a sense of sanity after the 2016 U.S. elections.
  • Oh how those Thanksgiving and December holidays loom!!

Host: Pat Shelly @UBSSW University at Buffalo School of Social Work

We hope to have some fun, and offer ideas and resources for election season recovery! And – in case you are worried that your stress level will get too low –  we might talk about how to prepare for the November/December holidays and the often fraught family time they engender. The open mic means you can introduce whatever else is on your mind.
*6 Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach:

  1. Safety;
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency;
  3. Peer support;
  4. Collaboration and mutuality;
  5. Empowerment, voice and choice;
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

** “Macro social work practice includes those activities performed in organizational, community, and policy arenas. Macro practice has a diverse history that reveals conflicting ideologies and multiple theoretical perspectives (emphasis added).Programmatic, organizational, community, and policy dimensions of macro practice underscore the social work profession’s emphasis on using a person-in-environment perspective. Thus, social workers, regardless of roles played, are expected to have sensitivity toward and engage in macro practice activities.”

Netting. F.E. (2013). Macro Social Work Practice in Encyclopedia of Social Work 20th Edition. Retrieved from http://socialwork.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.001.0001/acrefore-9780199975839-e-230


Resources:

To put things in perspective, here’s a satirical piece from the digital humor magazine The Onion:
ELECTION 2016: Nation Admits It’s Probably Going to Come Out of This Having Learned the Completely Wrong Lesson

And some bona fide research:

These elections are having an impact on the nation’s mental health:
Talking to Your Therapist About Election Anxiety : “‘I’ve been in private practice for 30 years, and I have never seen patients have such strong reactions to an election,’ said Sue Elias, a licensed clinical social worker in Manhattan.”

A report by the American Psychological Society shows that the 2016 elections were a source of  stress for 52% of Americans surveyed:
Stress in America: U.S. Presidential Election 2016