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  • NASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the Executive Director: March 2020

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE

NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director

Happy Social Work Month! This year’s theme, “Social Work: Generations Strong,” will spotlight social workers from various generations. The Social Work Month 2020 social media toolkit can be found here.

I recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “Vote like your rights depend on it.” That is sage advice in any given election but especially in 2020. Not that any of you need to be reminded of what is at stake this coming election, but a recent book by Pulitzer Prize­–winners Nicholas Kristof of the New York Timesand his wife, Sheryl Wudunn, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, brings many of these issues to light. The book looks at the lives of many of the people that Kristof grew up with in Yamhill, Oregon, which for a good part of the twentieth century was a stable, prosperous area and how they were left behind. During the discussion of the many of the issues that impacted his childhood friends and acquaintances, Kristoff and Wudunn stress the important role social workers play with those facing homelessness, drug addiction, income inequality, better access to health care, and incomplete education. This is an important read for the social work community and the country.

Speaking of elections, the Illinois primaries are scheduled for March 17, 2020. The chapter’s primary endorsements can be found here. Supporting people and communities to vote through nonpartisan voter registration, education, and outreach is a critical intervention on all levels of social work from the micro-level effects of an individual voting, to the mezzo-level of strengthening communities, to the macro-level changes to policies and systems (Humphrey’s Institute for Political Social Work). So please vote and encourage your clients and colleagues to vote as well.

As I write my bimonthly article, we will be finishing our last in-person social work workforce focus group supported by the Telligen Community Initiative in Carbondale, IL. All the focus groups have produced important insights and input regarding the social work workforce needs in the state. I want to thank all those representatives form schools of social and employers who participated in these four focus groups. Over the next two months, we will be surveying a wide variety of subgroups within the NASW-Illinois Chapter membership including students, members in all practice areas, as well as additional employers. Your input will be very important for our research and enhance our final report that will be completed and disseminated at the end of 2020.

Please plan on joining us on Advocacy Day, scheduled for April 2, 2020, in Springfield, IL. Complete information about the day and other related events can be found here.

Happy Social Work Month!

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