Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five African American Pioneers in the Social Services

In celebration of Black History Month, Social Work@Simmons published a website commemorating five African American social work pioneers. They include Mary Church Terrell, George Edmund Haynes, Thyra J. Edwards, Lester Blackwell Granger, and Dorothy I. Height. They were actively involved in civil rights, welfare reform, and service provision within their communities. They also became national figures, creating and leading organizations that enacted socially-just policies and programs that met the needs of the disadvantaged. Their contributions improved the lives of millions of people across the nation and around the world.

African American Pioneers in Social Services, SocialWork@Simmons

African American Pioneers in Social Service, SocialWork@Simmons

African American Pioneers in Social Service, SocialWork@Simmons

African American Pioneers in Social Service, SocialWork@Simmons

African American Pioneers in Social Service, SocialWork@Simmons

TONIGHT: #MacroSW with Charles E. Lewis -- Social Workers in Congress in Pursuit of Social Justice

#MacroSW will host a Twitter chat tonight at 9:00 PM EST featuring Charles E. Lewis, Jr., President of the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP). Lewis discuss what the social work profession's response should be for engaging Congress in pursuit of social justice. It will explore the following questions:
  • What motivated you to become a social worker?
  • Do you know there is a Congressional Social Work Caucus and why it was created?
  • Do you know how the Social Work Reinvestment Act will help the profession?
  • What can social workers do to influence federal policy?
  • Have you considered a career in policy?
  • Can social workers make a difference if we were more politically active?
  • What social worker inspires you the most?

Related Link: Congressional Social Work Caucus

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TONIGHT: #MacroSW – Everything You Wanted to Know About Macro Social Work But Were Afraid to Ask

Tonight, #MacroSW will host a Twitter chat tonight at 9:00 PM EST called "Everything You Wanted to Know About Macro Social Work But Were Afraid to Ask." It will cover these topics:
  • What is macro social work?
  • How can I learn about macro social work practice?
  • How can I connect with others doing macro social work?
  • What inspires you about macro social work?
  • What do you wish others knew about macro social work practice?
@karanzgoda will be hosting the chat. Karen Zgoda compiled a list of resources about macro social work on her blog.

UPDATE (02/13/15): Click here for the #MacroSW Twitter transcript.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NYTimes: It Is Expensive to be Poor

Everyone knows that the poor struggle to make ends meet. However, not many people realize how more expensive it can be poor than wealthy. Since state and local municipalities often rely on regressive taxes for funding, low-income families must pay a larger share of their income than wealthier people. In sum, low-income families are the hardest hit financially. Regressive taxes and predatory lending practices put low-income families severely at risk in falling back into poverty.

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released a study that found that most wealthy Americans believed “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

This is an infuriatingly obtuse view of what it means to be poor in this country — the soul-rending omnipresence of worry and fear, of weariness and fatigue. This can be the view only of those who have not known — or have long forgotten — what poverty truly means.

“Easy” is a word not easily spoken among the poor. Things are hard — the times are hard, the work is hard, the way is hard. “Easy” is for uninformed explanations issued by the willfully callous and the haughtily blind.

Allow me to explain, as James Baldwin put it, a few illustrations of “how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

First, many poor people work, but they just don’t make enough to move out of poverty — an estimated 11 million Americans fall into this category.

So, as the Pew report pointed out, “more than half of the least secure group reports receiving at least one type of means-tested government benefit.”

Related links:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Whitney M.Young, Jr. and the Struggle for Civil Rights (1989)

Whitney M. Young, Jr. and the Struggle for Civil Rights (1989) by Nancy J. Weiss is an autobiography of the late social worker and civil right activist during the War on Poverty movement. Weiss stated in the epilogue that "Whitney Young spent his life making the needs and interests of black Americans comprehensible and compelling to the whites who had the power to do something about them. Consummate politician, salesman, and interpreter, he goaded and challenged the white establishment to redress the effects of segregation, discrimination, and poverty" (p. 230). This classic autobiography also contains black-and-white photographs of Young's time in the army, civil rights movement and Kennedy and Johnson administration.

As executive director of the National Urban League, Young pushed major corporations to hire more blacks and co-organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. To improve the economic conditions of African Americans at the time, he proposed a domestic Marshall Plan that would rebuild cities, reduce poverty, and provide job training programs to millions of Americans. This plan, which called for $145 billion in spending over 10 years, was partially incorporated into President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. Young described his proposals for integration, social programs, and affirmative action in his two books, To Be Equal (1964) and Beyond Racism (1969). Despite his reluctance to enter politics himself, Young was an important advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. In 1968, Young refused a Cabinet-level position in Nixon's administration, believing that he could accomplish more through the Urban League.

For a documentary on Whitney Young's life, click the video below: