Why I Joined The #SWKresistance

If you are on social media you might have seen the hashtags #Resist or #TheResistance. This symbolizes people who are more than unsatisfied with the Trump Administration.  Come to think of it, “unsatisfied” might be the understatement of the year. People are angry.  His proposed policies hurt many vulnerable individuals; Refugees, Immigrants, women, and people with Chronic Health conditions ( just to name a few).  Based on my work with vulnerable youth, policies effecting healthcare and education are alarming. It is for that reason I have joined and helping to organize The Social Work Resistance (#SWKresistance)

From the social work perspective, proposed legislation and already completed executive orders are disturbing.  Before I talk about how passionately about fighting Trump’s agenda, we need to do a slight disclaimer. President Trump spoke to a lot of under-served people. His voters felt marginalized or slighted.  I don’t think it’s fair to have a conversation without first acknowledging this.  However, the policies put forth seem to not benefit these individuals.  As social workers we need to respect these individuals but also present information in a competent manner.  This is the role of the “Social Work Resistance”. Their mission is to

To transform the social work profession to one that is politically active by educating social workers about policies impacting them and their clients, establishing social workers as credible voices for political change, and mobilizing the profession to take action against anti-social work policies.

Whenever I grapple with issues, political or otherwise, I find looking at the core values and ethics of social work helpful.  This idea was first brought to me be the Ohio Chapter of The National Association of Social Workers. In reaction to the initial executive order on the Travel Ban and suspension of the Syrian refugee program, they created this…

Even before him arriving in office, it was clear President Trump’s values conflict with social work values.  Just seeing it in black and white is helpful.   In looking at the core values of  service, social justice, dignity and worth of individuals, integrity, and competence. His policies and rhetoric often fly in the face of our profession.

New Justice Department policies call for harsher sentences for minor crimes are a blow to social justice. Healthcare policies effecting reproductive justice for women detract from the dignity of worth of individuals. The administration has often lied and talked about alternative facts. Proposed changes in the Environmental Protection Agency, Justice Department, and Health and Human Services devalue the competency of science.

If you are in social work practice, one of many of these policies will effect your population.  There continues to be an assault on Medicaid and this is what I am fighting for. This administration will have you believe that they would like to improve the situation.  I created this twitter moment about how inaccurate this is…

 

Also working with youth I am concerned about education in under-served communities and assistance with transitional age youth. Proposed changes in education seem to be an assault on this as well..

  Trump’s Budget calls for Deep Cuts in Education 

As a social worker, I suspect you have your shortlist of things the Republican administration will impact your practice. No matter who the President is, the one undeniable core value of social work is “Service“.

Being prone to complaining about The Trump Administration was not enough. I wanted to use my social media presence to attempt to take action for social work and the vulnerable people we serve.

The first initiative put forth to Resist for Social Work is fighting the proposed budget’s implications on Loan Forgiveness for Social Work. At this point, we need to fight for our profession so that we can fight for others…

Please go to the Save Student Loan Forgiveness for Social Work page to sign the petition and find out how proposed education cuts would profoundly effect our profession.

We will also attempt to continue to create a dialogue on how policies will effect us and the individuals we serve.  Please stay tuned to The Social Work Resistance on Social Media on…

Facebook 

Twitter 

and

Use the hashtag #SWKresistance to add things that matter to you (we will try our best to keep up)

 

 

 

 

President Trump, The Women’s March, & Lost Opportunities

Did you ever regret something?

Sure we all have regrets; when we reflect on decisions we make and wish there was a rewind button. Sometimes you realize this it the next day, the next week, or even the next year. I have seen this sentiment of this post shared in tweets and other mediums (no pun intended). It was important elaborate on this from the social work perspective.

Here we are 36 hours after one of the largest organized Marches in history. The Women’s Marches in the United States and around the world united people for Women’s and other civil rights. Although there are no official numbers they appear quite staggering. Vox compiled some of the estimates of attendance here…

The attendance was large and it mattered. It mattered a lot. During his inaugural address President Trump asserted “We will unify this country”. The Women’s Marches were quite the demonstration of strength for Woman’s rights. This was mostly led by individuals that oppose President Trump’s policies. His immediate response was..

 

I get there were signs and individuals questioning the election. I know people will respond to this post in that manner. However these Women’s Marches were not just about the election results. They were about policy moving forward. He did do a follow up tweet that was a little “kinder”…

However these tweets appear to be his only public acknowledgement that millions of people gathered together around women’s and other civil rights. His campaign promises and actions often targeted Mexicans, Muslims, and yes women. His Vice President and other members of his cabinet have questioned the rights of the LGBT community.

The lack of public acknowledgment of these marches and their significance is a HUGE missed opportunity (some might say big league). Rather than dismiss these protests as challenge to the election, he and others should look at some of the content. This was about policies and practices that are discriminatory, violate civil rights, and take away services from the vulnerable.

Policies President Trump have questioned put healthcare, medicaid, medicare, special education, and mental health care at risk. That is what I think it was about every single day.

If he truly wanted “unify this country” he should meet with the conference organizers and find out what the issues were. The results are in and now it is time to reflect on how we can meet the needs of the most vulnerable. On the other side of aisle, Democrats are now faced with the same challenge. Where did they go wrong? Where are the divides and how we can we heal them? Democrats can’t just sit on their hands and rail against the election results either. Especially being the leader of the free world comes with the responsibility to take further action.

Yes Mr. President, people are not happy about the election results. Although people are questioning your legitimacy there are more people questioning “Where do we go from here?”. What do your policies mean for my 15 year old client with a severe mental health problem? What do they mean to countless numbers who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventative care? (a gentle reminder that it’s not just about abortion). What do your education policies mean for students with disabilities? How will your immigration policies effect the lives of families trying to make a better life? What does the GOP replacement for Obamacare actually entail? What … well you get the idea.

My challenge to President Trump is if he was truly wants to “unify this country” he needs to meet with march organizers. Find out what the issues are. I assure you it is well beyond the fact that you are now the President. By continuing to ignore the other messages and the magnitude of The Women’ Marches you will continue to miss an opportunity. You may realize this tomorrow, next week, next year, but by then it may be too late.

Mr. President, myself and others will be waiting for you to take up this opportunity. In the meantime I urge others to look at the Women’s March website and find out how you can take action…