by Pat Shelly
March is Social Work Month, a time for celebrating our profession and increasing awareness of social work and social workers. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has this description of the theme for 2017:
“Social workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, our veterans, children, families and communities. Yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.
This year we will commemorate Social Work Month with a ‘Social Workers Stand Up!’ campaign. This campaign will educate the public about the contributions of social workers and give social workers and their allies tools they can use to elevate the profession.”
During a March 13th #MacroSW Twitter Chat, the following question was asked, “For What Do You Stand Up?” The responses were wide-ranging and inspiring; we had many practitioners, advocates and students sharing ideas and actions that expressed what social workers stand up for.
Joining the chat were Greg Wright, the Public Relations Manager for NASW. Part of Greg’s job is to cover how the media portrays social workers, on the NASW site, Social Workers Speak!
As Greg told us, “NASW stands up for the social work profession and the millions of clients who social workers serve…[We are] committed to upholding the NASW Code of Ethics.”
Linda Grobman, Publisher/Editor of The New Social Worker was on the chat too. The Social Work Month 2017 Project (she offers this project annually) of the magazine,with many articles, poems and art work by contributors.
And she can be seen in a video, reading the NASW 2017 Social Work Month Proclamation.
Image: The New Social Worker
The first part of the chat addressed what people were doing to celebrate Social Work Month. There were many advocacy actions, and celebrations, and many ideas and resources offered. Social work students and other participants were from the states of Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and also from the District of Columbia. We went international, too,with someone from Canada! And toward the end of the chat, we shared movies and books that portrayed social workers in a realistic light, as fully developed characters.
But the question, “For what do you stand up?,” elicited a great cascade of responses. During the hour-long chat, there were 103 participants sending over 1,100 tweets. (You can read the complete archive of the tweets here.)
For this blog post, however, I offer just a couple of dozen tweets that reflect the many issues, causes and populations that social workers stand up with and for. *
I Stand For:
I stand for the mentally ill and elderly.
I’m passionate about ending the stigma against mental illness.
I stand up for and with all disadvantaged populations. Whether this be economic status, gender, race, religion, etc.
I stand up for those with developmental disabilities and their families – helping them to live their fullest lives.
I stand up for students in public schools – I stand up for children, adolescents, and education. We need access to good, supportive, and properly funded public schools!!
I stand up for children and youth with mental illness.
I stand up for social equity using an intersectional approach.
It is not enough to stand FOR others; rather, I stand with and I use my privilege to help build conditions to speak their own truth.
We stand up for the principles of Trauma-Informed Care and strive to engage all social workers in a convo. about TIC
My passion is to be a voice for male victims of DV.
Photo: Jennifer Battisti
I #standup for people experiencing homelessness.
People with criminal records and their families.
I stand against gender-based violence.
I stand up for those seeking healing amidst division and brokenness.
I stand for my clients – individuals with low vision or blind – who want to be treated as CAPABLE human being.
I stand up for positive parenting being a good and providing a positive influence on children.
I stand up for children who have been abused and neglected. Many of them don’t have a voice.
I stand up for all those who were never intended to be part of the American dream. and who live its nightmare.
I stand up for the dignity and worth of all!
I rise up for American Indian children, families, and tribes involved in child welfare, in support of tribal sovereignty & ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act).
I stand up for all immigrants and refugees.
And love, I stand for love
I stand up for people & families who are harmed by deficit-based, ineffective, & harmful interventions or policies.
My true passion is the elderly, their quality of life, and elderly abuse & neglect.
I stand for #MealsonWheels and after school programs.
My daughter is transgender, so I fight to #ProtectTransKids.
I stand up for health care for everyone. Not just the rich. And not just health insurance, but real health care!
I stand up for women. I am one. There are a lot of us. We deserve chances & we deserve equality. We deserve bodily autonomy.
I stand up for accessibility.
I #standup for social justice.
To close, here is an excerpt from the poem, “To Be of Use,” by Marge Piercy — a tribute to my colleagues in social work:
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest…
[who]move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
It’s been a good Social Work Month.
*The tweets have been edited to avoid duplication; some are combined and some punctuation has been added for readability.