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For National Professional Social Work Month, we took an informal survey of some of our advisors and contributors on what they consider to be the top five social justice issues facing social workers today. There were many different responses, but the issues that follow were the ones that showed up most frequently on the lists.
We asked individual social workers to write an essay about each issue. Read those essays about the challenges our survey respondents regarded as the most serious that society faces today and compare them to your own list. Growing up in the late s and early s, the power of the people to transform society and work toward greater gender, racial, and ethnic equality was clear.
During my undergraduate years, I learned that social workers active in the progressive movement were at the forefront of policies that reduced working hours, restricted child labor, and created public health clinics to improve conditions for low-income families. These models for how we can change our society shaped my involvement in organizations to end violence against women and work toward the empowerment of diverse groups.
My path as a social worker is not unique. Regardless of our setting, all social workers are engaged in work related to oppression and social injustice.
We do this work while living and working in a society where groups have mobilized to restrict or eliminate existing rights such as public education for immigrants and the children of immigrants, domestic partnerships for gay men and lesbians, and access to reproductive healthcare for adolescent women.
Surviving and thriving as a social worker requires that we have a true appreciation for human diversity and understand how social identities affect access to resources.
Throughout our history, social workers have been agents of both liberation and oppression.
During the same era that we founded social settlements, we were involved in the incarceration of Native American children in boarding schools. Our approach to diversity within our communities will influence whether we work toward social exclusion or inclusion.
Will we work toward the rejection, tolerance, acceptance, or celebration of the different groups that make up our communities? If we are to work toward social justice, we need to engage in the work involved in celebrating difference and diversity.
I use the word celebrate based on its original meanings, which refers to honor, respect, or recognize. We must move beyond tolerating or accepting those who are different from ourselves to a position of cultural humility that requires us to question our own background and experiences to work in partnership with others.
When working from this perspective, we, as social workers, must be engaged in ongoing self-assessment and awareness of how power differences affect our ability to be genuinely helpful.
This process is an essential element of social justice work. Celebrating diversity means working as an ally and advocating for marginalized and oppressed groups.
We are allies to others when we can recognize and use the sources of our privilege to advance the rights of those who do not share our own identities or backgrounds. We need to ask ourselves how we can use the knowledge we have of unjust practices toward individuals and groups in society to work toward changes to improve their situation.
Our knowledge and experience can be used to join with others and create new movements to reduce poverty, improve access to healthcare, support families, and eliminate discrimination on the basis of our social identities.
The United States is becoming an increasingly multiracial, multicultural, and multiethnic society. At the same time, conditions of economic inequality by gender and race have not improved. These trends in the substance and structure of society challenge our profession to evaluate how we address these demographic shifts.
It is our responsibility as social workers to strategically use our position and privilege to work toward greater equality. There is no other ethical choice.
She has more than 25 years of experience as a social worker and educator in multiethnic communities.
Child Welfare By Judith M. I am deeply concerned that we continue to fail the children who are abused, neglected, and just plain unwanted. Since the start of our modern-day foster care system in the mids, when Charles Loring Brace started the Orphan Train Movement to resettle orphaned children from New York City to states in the Midwest and beyond, there have been numerous efforts to get it right.
We have strategically planned, privatized, transformed systems, thought outside the box, been accountable, computerized, wrapped around, and done more with less. Without the occasional sensationalized child death, I suspect these families would fall off the radar altogether.
Some prefer to keep these images far away, finding comfort in denial. While we are a country of people who profess to love their children, there were 3 million reports of child maltreatment in Experts believe this represents only one third of actual incidents.
More thanreports were found indicating a rate of 2. As long as no injuries result, parents may hit their children with impunity. Four children die from maltreatment every day, a number largely undercounted.Changing Consciousness: Exploring the Hidden Source of the Social, Political, and Environmental Crises Facing Our World [David Bohm, Mark Edwards] on alphabetnyc.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
Physicist and philosopher David Bohm shows how people need to adopt a new way of thinking in order to solve the crises facing the . The most serious problem young folks r facing today is our government and their lack of integrity and honesty. They are facing mounting problems in all aspects of life, including the economy and education due to corruption and lack of leadership in our elected officials.
Last year, the Society for Social Work and Research Conference in Washington, DC, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) unveiled its 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work with a bold call to action to help solve the toughest problems facing our society today.
Social issues are those which affect the human society as a whole. These issues are pertaining human behavior, including government policies, religious conflicts, gender inequalities, economic disparities, etc.
ntil the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in , wealthy plantation owners relied on indentured servants for cheap labor. March/April The Top 5 Social Justice Issues Facing Social Workers Today Social Work Today Vol. 7 No. 2 P.
Editor’s Note: For National Professional Social Work Month, we took an informal survey of some of our advisors and contributors on what they consider to be the top five social justice issues facing social workers today.