Advocating for Macro Social Work: ACOSA turns 30 in 2017!

Thursday December 15th is ACOSA night at #MacroSW Twitter Chats

Chat Transcript 

By Rachel L. West
ACOSA Board Member

The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, field instructors, community builders, policy practitioners, students, and educators. Since its formation in 1987, it has promoted teaching, research, and social work in the area of community practice by accomplishing the following:

  • Hosting a website for community practice curriculum material, event announcements, Special Commission resources; actions from the field, and student viewpoints;
  • Establishing and operating the Journal of Community Practice;
  • Soliciting and reviewing proposals for the community practice track at CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting;
  • Recognizing emerging scholars, contributions to the field, and lifetime achievement in community practice with its awards; and
  • Supporting the establishment of Macro Social Work Student Network chapters.

The Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work (SC) was formed in 2013 to address the low percent of all MSW students enrolled a macro concentration/specialization, and limited macro content in many BSW and MSW programs. “20 in 2020” is one of the initiates undertaken by the commission. The goal is to have enrollment in a macro concentration or method up to 20% of all social work graduate students country-wide by the year 2020. SC has now partnered with ACOSA; SC materials are posted on the ACOSA website.

As part of its 30th anniversary, ACOSA will be conducting a strategic visioning session in June. This chat will give you the opportunity to learn more about ACOSA and the Special Commission and contribute your ideas to how this professional association might lead in the future.

The Chat starts at 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST. I will be hosting (@poliSW) and will be joined by incoming ACOSA Chair Rebecca Sanders.

Questions:

  1. What concerns do you have about the current state of social work macro practice?
  2. What can be done to strengthen macro practice?
  3. Are you a member of ACOSA? If not, why not? What would draw you in?
  4. Were you aware of the Special Commission? Have you seen the materials it has produced?
  5. Looking ahead, what should be ACOSA’s top priorities?

Resources:

The ACOSA website

#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

 

#MacroSW Media Night 6/30/16 – Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA

Click here for a copy of the chat transcript.

downloadFor our June Media Night, we will be watching Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA produced by Frontline.  Here is the description of the movie:

In Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA, FRONTLINE goes inside the politics of America’s gun debate. Veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk investigates the NRA, its political evolution and influence, and how it has consistently succeeded in defeating new gun control legislation.

Here is a link the movie (54 minutes): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/gunned-down/.  You can watch the movie for free.  

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

  1. From the movie, what are some of the special interests influencing the gun debate in America? #MacroSW
  2. How are current gun policies affecting your community? And the individuals & families who live in your community? #MacroSW
  3. How can we start talking about gun policies in America in more inclusive way; with less divisiveness? #MacroSW
  4. How do our professional ethics guide social workers in responding to the gun debate? #MacroSW
  5. What lessons about lobbying have you learned that can be applied to #MacroSW?
  6. What single word best describes how the film made you feel? #MacroSW
  7. What’s next? How do we as social workers promote practical solutions to the gun debates in America? #MacroSW

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

#MacroSW Chat on 1/21 Discusses Politics Happening Right Now

I_Voted_StickerChat archive is now available.

As the 2016 election heats up and with the Iowa caucuses right around the corner, join us on Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. EST for this #MacroSW chat for a timely conversation about politics happening right now and the social worker’s role in this election season.

Our participation in the political process is instrumental in creating advocacy efforts and change for our clients. We also have an opportunity to position important policy issues for debate during this election and impact getting the vote out to have our voices heard.

#MacroSW chat will host this discussion periodically to focus on the intersection between politics and social work as a core value of macro practice. Our goal is to keep this non-partisan and we welcome all political points of view.

Questions

  1. What do you think are the most important issues for social work to be addressed this election season? (i.e. immigration, healthcare)
  2. Did candidates in the recent presidential debates address issues important to your work?
  3. Are you aware of, or participating in any get out the vote efforts? Please share them.
  4. What else should social workers be doing to participate in this year’s election?

This week (Jan. 21) let’s reflect on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade (#ReproJustice) and how participation in the political process made this decision possible and has positively impacted the lives of women in the U.S.

References

Macro Matters: 20% by 2020

By Rachel L. West
ACOSA Board Member

Update: Chat transcript can be found here.

The Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work is calling on the CSWE and other social work organizations to make a commitment to macro practice. Current data shows only 9-10% of social work students plan to pursue macro practice. The commission wants to raise that number to 20% by 2020.

As Michael Reisch pointed out in his eloquent essay, macro is an important component of social work practice.

It pushes the boundaries of the profession by fostering a “big picture” perspective that enables social workers and society as a whole to analyze people’s issues “outside the box” and focus on the prevention of problems, not merely their amelioration. Macro practice explicitly embodies social work’s commitment to social justice and social change by promoting structural solutions to systemic inequalities and various forms of oppression that go beyond individual adaptation and resilience.

The Rothman report brought to light serious concerns that if not dealt with endanger the future of macro practice.

On Thursday November 5th #MacroSW Twitter Chats will discuss the work of The Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work and the 20% by 2020 initiative. The chat starts at 9:00 PM EST. I will host the chat from @acosaorg account.

Before the chat please read the following:

The Special Commission to Advance Macro Social Work Practice

Why Macro Practice Matters
By Michael Reisch, University of Maryland

NOW! MAKE MACRO MATTER: Taking Further Action to Address the Macro Imbalance in Social Work Education

 Our partners include:

  • Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration (ACOSA), @acosaorg
  • Karen Zgoda, MSW, LCSW, Instructor of Social Work at Bridgewater State University, @karenzgoda
  • Rachel West, The Political Social Worker, @poliSW
  • University at Buffalo School of Social Work, @ubssw
  • Sunya Folayan, MSW, ACSW, founder/executive director, The Empowerment Project, Inc., @SunyaFolayan
  • Laurel Hitchcock, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham,@Laurelhitchcock
  • Kristin Battista-Frazee, MSW, Author and Marketing Consultant, @porndaughter

In addition to the active partners above, founding chat partners include:

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

by University at Buffalo School of Social Work #UBSSW

(see the Storify summary here:
https://storify.com/UBSSW/advocacy-in-social-work-practice-summary-of-macros )

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 !

Resources

NASW Advocacy page

The ABCs of Lobbying
https://naswnys.org/legislation-and-advocacy/abcs-of-lobbying/

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

Social Worker & Professor Kristie Holmes’ Run for Congress: http://www.politicalsocialworker.org/micro-to-macro/

Vice-President Inonge Wina of Zambia: Social Work Prepared Her for Politics
http://socialwork.columbia.edu/news-events/social-work-practice-prepared-her-politics-says-zambias-first-woman-vice-president

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
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/997

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.

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