#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

 

Open Invitation to the Trump Administration to Engage the Social Work Community

white_houseWe, the partners of the #MacroSW Twitter Chat, invite Trump Administration representatives and the President to join the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. EST for an open question and answer forum to engage the social work community and professionals who work with people in need of healing and hope and to discuss a range of pressing issues.

#MacroSW twitter chat is a collaborative group of social workers who promote macro focused practices and fight for social justice. We are conveners in the social work profession and host weekly conversations on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST with social workers nationwide who come together online to strategize about practice, share resources, and network.  Here is our weekly schedule and feel free to connect with us at @OfficialMacroSW or email us at OfficialMacroSW@gmail.com.

Social workers have a mission to reach those who have been forgotten and left behind and to solve our toughest social problems. There are more than 640,000 social workers in the U.S. and we are the largest provider of mental health services in the country.  As a reminder, the National Association of Social Workers has sent the Trump transition team this document, Advancing the American Agenda: How the Social Work Profession Will Help which details social work’s rich history, our impact, and how we serve. It provides detailed research and statistics that touch on pertinent issues.

For a Twitter chat forum, questions would be posed to President Trump, and/or administration representatives, from social workers on the below topics. We would also welcome this chat to be convened on Twitter through Periscope or other video streaming service to answer questions live. These topics were selected because President Trump had spoken about these issues on the campaign trail or taken action by executive order.  We are open to other topic suggestions from both the Trump Administration and social work community.  Leave comments below this post or tweet us and mention our handle @OfficialMacroSW.

If no one from the Trump Administration joins the #MacroSW Twitter chat,  we will proceed with convening this question and answer forum and compile ideas and feedback to deliver to your administration. A blog post will follow this invitation closer to Feb. 23 outlining the questions and additional resources to prompt discussion.

Topics

  • Refugees and immigration reform. The Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which bans aliens from the nations of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia from traveling and seeking refuge in the U.S. This ban has caused alarm at home and around the world, raised constitutional questions which led to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a suspension of this order and has left many believing we are abandoning our core principles as Americans. Social workers play a key role in helping settle immigrants and refugees in communities, protect illegal immigrants who live in the shadows and are at a higher risk to suffer abuse and victims of crime. We also advocate fair and just immigration reforms which honors our nation’s history. We should agree humane treatment of all people is necessary to resolve the struggles our communities face in helping immigrants.  
  • Child care beyond tax credits and paid leave. Greater flexibility in affording childcare is a goal for everyone. We also need to improve opportunities and wages for the childcare workforce, which has an underpaid and predominantly female and minority-race workforce. And, there are too few affordable and high quality child care options for middle class and low income families, often negating efforts to work full-time.
  • Reducing opioid, crack, drug and alcohol addiction and criminalization. Nationwide addiction has destroyed families and communities. Social workers are on the front lines in combating addiction and can be relied upon to deliver treatment programs to break the cycle of addiction. We also seek to end the criminalization of addiction in which people end up in prison instead of treatment and minorities represent a disproportionately high number of inmates.  Social workers seek solutions to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, especially in communities of color, and offer treatment instead of jail for nonviolent offenders.
  • Affordable healthcare for everyone. As the Trump Administration and Congress seek to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, social workers have grave concerns about how this will be done. The expansion of health insurance and Medicaid has increased social workers’ ability to provide mental health and addiction services and created parity for health and behavioral healthcare and we want this to continue. Also, we know basic healthcare is a necessity for people to live independent and productive lives. This is especially important for the disabled and older adult communities who are entitled to live healthier and stay at home for as long as possible instead of in expensive nursing facilities.
  • Veteran’s mental health and addiction. Social workers are the largest provider of mental health and addiction services for veterans and their families. We need more social workers working in the veteran’s health administration to end the high suicide rates, heal PTSD and treat trauma, addiction and mental health disorders.
  • Violence against minorities and the police.  The intersection of racism, trauma and violence experienced by black communities and law enforcement officers has led to an untenable situation for everyone. It’s a tragedy that there is a greater incidence of violence and killings of people of color at the hands of police. When police officers die in the line of duty protecting our communities, this is a tragedy that happens far too often.  And here is a troubling statistic:  over 50 percent of police brutality incidents involve disabled people especially those of color.  Cases like Arnaldo Rios-Soto and Korryn Gaines are not isolated occurrences and show the dangerous realities some face if they encounter law enforcement.  Social workers are on the ground in every community, working to stem acts of violence and the aftermath of social unrest in the wake of the shootings and killings of black citizens and police officers.
  • Economy and social justice.  Jobs are the backbone of thriving communities; social workers often support those who are un- or under-employed, as are many people with disabilities.  Social workers are instrumental in supporting working-class families who are seeking work as well as creating opportunities for people to start businesses and build wealth in the shifting  economy with its many changes due to globalization and automation.

Social workers’ expertise and interests extend beyond this list. We are collaborators by nature and dedicated professionals who believe in equality, diversity and advocacy for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We work with marginalized and oppressed people everywhere and care deeply about human and civil rights. Our reach is broad:  social workers help people on a one-on-one basis as well as creating large-scale community change and policy initiatives.

In policies and philosophies where the Trump Administration and the social work community have mutual interest, mission alignment and the potential for productive work, we will work with this administration to reach important goals on behalf of all Americans.

We must state clearly, while we are open to collaboration with the new Trump Administration, we will organize and speak out against policies deemed harmful to minorities, immigrants, women, and other disenfranchised populations.  The purpose of this invitation is to open respectful dialogue which is necessary in order to devise the best solutions for our rich and sound democracy.

As President Trump has demonstrated so well, Twitter is a rich social media community where people can express themselves freely, and easily organize and communicate. Twitter is an incredible platform to engage large numbers of people and harness the best ideas. We hope that President Trump and his administration will join us for this conversation.