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Friday, September 1

From the Pen of the Executive Director: September 2017

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director

As a teenager I marched against neo-Nazis in Chicago’s Marquette Park in 1972. I marched again against the Nazis in 1978 as a college student, and they attempted to parade in Skokie, IL. I was out for a walk with two of my young children four blocks away from the hate crime murder of Ricky Birdsong in 1998 by neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith. The list goes on and on. Early in the month my congregation in Skokie, IL, held a vigil against hate, bringing together all members of the community in which I live following the horrific events in Charlottesville, VA. We were joined by Illinois State Representatives Lou Lang and Laura Fine, as well as US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. I really didn’t think that in 2017 I would still have to be attending protests and vigils against the forces that divide our country and which are in complete conflict with our social work value system, our code of ethics, as well as the democratic values of our country. However, these are not ordinary times. And these not ordinary times require extraordinary efforts and vigilance. In addition to writing statements (see NASW’s statement on the tragedy at Charlottesville), we all need to take every opportunity to stand against hate. Do not even hesitate to think that someone else will attend the next protest or vigil.

On Friday, August 25, 2017, Governor Bruce Rauner signed our social work licensure renewal bill authorizing another ten years of professional licensure for our profession. Congratulations to all Illinois social workers! Many thanks to the work of NASW-Illinois Chapter Director of Legislative Affairs Kyle Hillman in keeping the legislation on track to its conclusion and signage into law by the governor.

The 2017 NASW Delegate Assembly (DA) met on Friday, August 4, 2017. The DA is NASW’s key policy-making body. The chapter’s delegation included:

  1. Mary Gollings, Chapter President
  2. Don Phelps
  3. Candi Gray
  4. Mary Garrison
  5. Kenna Johnson
  6. Ruth Lipschutz
  7. Lauren Weisert
  8. Cheri Sinnott
  9. Grisel Rodriguez-Morales

In addition to the policy statements included in Social Work Speaks, the assembly approved the Association’s 2018–2021 Program Priority Goals and revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics.

As NASW moves forward with continued revisions of the policy statements in Social Work Speaks, we are seeking experts to actively serve on panels for the following policies (see below) that we anticipate reviewing beginning in 2017. If you have expertise in the following social work practice areas, you may be able to serve on an expert panel revising an upcoming policy statement. Please send an e-mail identifying the policy name, a short biography (50–100 words), and a resume to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by September 22, 2017.

  • Confidentiality and Information Utilization
  • Crime Victim Assistance
  • Family Violence
  • Mental Health
  • Hospice Care
  • Rural Social Work
  • Parental Kidnapping
  • Voter Participation
  • Adolescent and Young Adult Health
  • Community Development
  • School Violence
  • Foster Care and Adoption
  • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Sovereignty, Rights, and the Well-Being of Indigenous Peoples

I encourage the social work community to join us at the 2017 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference at The Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL, from October 23 to 25, 2017. Our conference is the ​largest ​gathering ​of ​social ​work ​and mental health professionals ​in ​the ​state, ​bringing ​together ​over ​800 ​mental health ​leaders, ​practitioners, ​and educators. ​You can view the conference brochure here.

The NASW is excited to host its fourth Virtual Career Fair on September 14, 2017, from 12:00 to 4:00pm (EDT). You can virtually interview, network, and apply to available social work jobs and employers via Skype and instant messaging during the event. Read more here.

A couple of other notes…

We have all been heartbroken by the devastation and destruction that Hurricane Harvey has caused to the city of Houston and southeast Texas. Please see the recent post on our website regarding Hurricane Harvey assistance. At the bottom of that link is information about the steps that the Red Cross requires for volunteering. Additionally, blood donations are in high demand. The following link from the Red Cross provides more information: http://www.redcross.org/hp/harvey3. Enter in your zipcode to find the closest venue to donate blood in your area.

Congratulations to long time NASW-Illinois Chapter member and national aging expert Robyn Golden of Rush University Medical Center on receiving The Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) 2017 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging. This honor, given annually, recognizes instances of practice informed by research and analysis, research that directly improved policy or practice, and distinction in bridging the worlds of research and practice. Individuals who are mid-career and actively engaged in the conception and development of innovative programs that demonstrate excellence in translating research into practical application or policy are eligible. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.

A big NASW-Illinois Chapter welcome and welcome back to two new social work deans: Goutham M. Menon, PhD, at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, and Steven Anderson, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work. We look to working with both of you.

Lastly, best of luck to all those students starting social work programs this fall. We look forward to your involvement with NASW, and your commitment to carry on the legacy and importance of our profession. 

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, has served as executive director of the 7,000 member Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since October 1999. He has over twenty-five years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service, and international political issues. Joel is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship Leadership Program and a current adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work as well as Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

Posted on 09/01/17 at 08:00 AM


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