Friday, January 21, 2011

Rethinking MLK Day: Poverty in America

First, I would like to congratulate people who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend a social justice-related event on Martin Luther King Jr.'s Holiday. I posted this video because all too often, we focus so much on civil rights and legal segregation that he also had a message on economic justice. He wanted to create a Poor People's Campaign in Washington DC that would protest poverty and inequality in America. Once he visited the northern states, he realized that poverty was the biggest indicator in sustaining health disparities, underemployment, illiteracy and homelessness. Although people needed equal protections under the law, people were still suffering at the mercy of big business.

Today, we live in one of the richest nations with the worst inequality rates. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen each year. Listen to King's speech in the video below. How would you continue his dream in promoting economic and social justice?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Investors, Young Professionals Return to Detroit

People nationwide are learning more about Detroit in the news. If it isn't the primetime cop drama, Detroit 1-8-7, you probably heard of it from TIME's Assignment Detroit series. Investors and young professionals are turning to Detroit to revitalize the city, especially in the Midtown district.
Amid talk of downsizing and abandonment, a new surge of young investors has been moving into Detroit and revitalizing its economy.

"Hotels, theaters, art galleries, charter schools, condos and dozens of restaurants have opened, primarily in abandoned buildings, in the past year or are to open this year in the Midtown, New Center and Woodbridge neighborhoods.

'We are onto something great in this city,' Detroit artist and muralist Jennifer Quigley said. 'People who want art and culture are gravitating here.'

The revitalization is being driven by generous grants, new state tax credits and more investor confidence in the city's ability to attract young professionals, art enthusiasts and others, said Sue Mosey, president of the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit community group based in Midtown."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ranking in Top 50 Blogs by Social Work Professionals

My blog has been recently recognized as one of the top websites in the Top 50 Blogs by Social Work Professionals. My blog is ranked #6, and I feel very honored! My blog continues to gain more publicity, and I am delighted that many social work students and professionals enjoy my site.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Article: Challenging Traditional Social Work

I found this article (1995) from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration's The Advocate's Forum newsletter. Although it is over a decade old, I still thought this reflection was an excellent view on the current debate between clinical and macro social work in the profession.
While interviewing for a second year field placement I came across a disturbing comment. "So, you don't have an interest in traditional social work." It was disturbing because, at least in my mind, I do have an interest in traditional social work. I wanted to help individuals negotiate society. I wanted to improve the lives of individuals and change society. I wanted to be Jane Addams with a little Mary Richmond thrown in for good measure. I did not understand what wasn't traditional about my version of social work. After all, I was basing it on the pioneers of the field.

Should the social work profession integrate the two fields? Should all social workers become advanced generalists? Social work is a unique profession that focuses on human behavior in the social environment ("person-in-environment"). Sometimes, I also feel frustrated that there are more clinical positions than organizing/management/policy positions in the human services. While I have enjoyed my educational studies, I do start to wonder how will I market myself to people who are unaware of macro social work practice. The origins of social work had a strong focus on advocacy and social change for marginalized populations. Today, most social workers pursue clinical practice (nearly 70%), become psychotherapists or case managers, and focus more on social control interventions.

This shift is often criticized by macro social workers who feel their needs are underserved and ignored. We need more macro social workers to address new social and legal challenges in the 21st century. Families and communities need advocates who will represent their interests against powerful special interests groups. The social work profession needs to become more unified on social justice issues.

How does this debate affect you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011: A New Year, Great Expectations

It is officially 2011. My classes and field instruction have resumed. Ann Arbor looks like a winter wonderland. It is snowing outside my window, and the weather is cold. I am looking forward to this year because I am halfway done with my dual-degree program (3 semesters left) and have 11 months left until graduation. I am very excited and will do my best in my studies. Although I have not been posting much, this blog is my pride and joy. In the past 16 months, I have explored my own professional development. My interests have changed but I believe my social work and information science education will aid me in my future endeavors. I hope you find this blog useful for your needs. I enjoy sharing resources related to contemporary social issues, academics and careers.

Are there topics that I have not addressed on this blog?