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.

#MacroSW Media Night 10.13.16 – Online Disability Advocacy:  What is the role of allies?

Update: Chat archive now available!

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For our October Media Night, we will be discussing how social workers can become effective allies within online disability advocacy, and what does that mean and look like from members of the disabled community.

There is no denying the power online advocacy has played in ushering the disability rights movement into the 21st century.  Disabled advocates are able to discuss issues, policies, ableism, and combatting multiple identities with members of the disabled community across the country and globe, as well as paint a more rightfully diverse and genuine images of the disabled experience.  Our chat will explore how the social work profession and social workers can become effective allies, and in what ways disabled advocates desire for us to work alongside them.   

Here are a few resources that goes in-depth about what disability advocacy is, what good allyship looks like, the use of identity-first language versus person-first language, and why the social model of disability is preferred by members of the disabled community:  

What is Disability Advocacy?
http://www.daru.org.au/what-is-advocacy

So You Call Yourself An Ally?:  10 Things All ‘Allies’ Should Know
http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/things-allies-need-to-know/

Identity First Language
http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/about-asan/identity-first-language/

The Social Model of Disability
http://www.scope.org.uk/about-us/our-brand/social-model-of-disability

Our guest expert will be Dr. Casey Bohrman, who is the Assistant Chair of Undergraduate Social Work at West Chester University.  She teaches direct practice and social policy courses.  She integrates Twitter into her introduction to social policy class, including an assignment that requires students to document and tweet about accessibility issues in their local communities.  

Our #MacroSW Partner facilitating the chat is Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson).

Here are the questions we hope to discuss during the chat:

  1. What does it mean to be a good ally to communities that you do not have membership to?
  2. Is there a need for allies within advocacy movements?  Why or why not?  
  3. How has social media played an important role in propelling online advocacy?  
  4. Which technologies/social media platforms have been instrumental to online advocacy, and are most favored among advocates?  
  5. Does the social work profession have an out-of-date view and understanding of disability?  
  6. What can we do as social workers to better connect with the disabled community, and be effective allies?

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.

About #MacroSW Media Nights:

Tune in for our once a month #MacroSW Media Night to talk about different social problems highlighted by the press. We’ll feature a video, podcast, blog post or article that features a hot topic. These chats are ideal for class assignment or extra credit opportunity.  For the chat schedule: https://macrosw.com/special-events/.