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News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Social Workers on the Frontline: Largest Social Work Conference Tackles Pressing Issues

Wednesday, November 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Duane Breijak
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LANSING - How does social work affect our lives on a daily basis? How can social workers and community members work together to affect change on the challenging issues facing our communities? How can social workers run for office to create policy that improves lives? These questions and more, including the opioid crisis and human trafficking, were discussed during the Legislative Education and Advocacy Day held by the National Association of Social Workers - Michigan Chapter. The day-long event had nearly 1,000 people in attendance.

 

"We wanted to bring social workers, students, and community members together to explore how we can tackle issues impacting people across Michigan," said Allan Wachendorfer, director of public policy for NASW-Michigan. "People are interacting with social workers each and every day, so we routinely hear firsthand how people are dealing with the issues we discussed today. Social workers have been and will continue to help people have a better quality of life."

 

Organizers sought to activate social workers to take action for the most vulnerable populations, discussing topics ranging from immigration reform, human trafficking, the impact of hate groups in society to racial justice and the opioid crisis. Keynote speakers Leslie King and Dr. Randy Blazak spoke about human trafficking and hate groups in the United States, respectively.

 

"It was a great opportunity to be able to speak with so many people in social work and those wanting to transform our society," said Dr. Randy Blazak. "It's essential we engage multiple people, in multiple occupations, especially in social work, on these issues. It takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to solve the issues affecting marginalized communities."

 

Social workers and community activists were also joined by social work students from nearly all of the state's 34 social work programs. Social workers were able to gain six continuing education courses from the workshops. The NASW-Michigan Chapter also honored Michigan State Representative Stephanie Chang with their Stabenow Political Leadership Award for her work as a social worker who has engaged in political and legislative leadership.

 

"It is an amazing honor to be recognized by the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers," said Representative Stephanie Chang. "My training as a social worker has allowed me to make sure that I am actively advancing policy that seeks to improve every aspect of a resident's life. Being in this space today was a proud and hopeful experience to see so many people dedicating their life to positive change."

 

 


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