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Legislative, Education, & Advocacy Day (LEAD) (5.5 CEs)
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Join together with hundreds of social justice advocates from around Michigan for the largest annual gathering of social workers in the state! This all day event features an advocacy oriented keynote address, networking opportunities, social justice forums, and nearly two dozen workshops on legislative issues, political action, and advocacy efforts. 5.5 CEs will be awarded to licensed attendees.

When: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Where: Lansing Center
333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, Michigan  48933
United States
Contact: Tricia McCarthy
517-487-1548, ex 16

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2018 Legislative Education and Advocacy Day

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Lansing Center
333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

9am - 4:40pm


Join together with hundreds of social justice advocates from around Michigan for the largest annual gathering of social workers in the state! This all day event features two inspiring keynote addresses, networking opportunities, social justice forums, and nearly two dozen workshops on legislative issues, political action, and advocacy efforts. Lunch is included in the registration cost.


5.5 CEs will be awarded to licensed attendees.


NASW Student Members-$35, Student Non-Members-$55, NASW Members-$80, Non-Members-$100

Registration Closes on Monday, October 29th (Please note that there are no walk in registrations available for LEAD and no special meal requirements after 10/25)

***Students: Please verify with your school prior to registering individually***


Keynote Speakers

Morning Keynote

From Social Work Student to State Legislator: Getting things done through legislation, social activism, and community partnerships

Rep. Stephanie Chang, MSW


State Representative Stephanie Chang has spent more than a decade advocating for social justice in Michigan, and will be sharing her journey from community organizer to elected official and how her social work background informs her work in the Michigan legislature.


Afternoon Keynote

Beyond Allies - Building the Immigrant Movement through Solidarity

Maria Ibarra-Frayre, LLMSW



How can we reframe what it means to be in solidarity with other communities in order to build strong, interconnected movements that lead us to liberation? What is the role of social workers who have traditionally seen themselves as "allies" to the immigrant and undocumented community? And how can we see ourselves as co-conspirators instead of allies?

State Representative Stephanie Chang is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 6th House District, which comprises the cities of Ecorse and River Rouge and part of the city of Detroit.

Before serving in the Legislature, Chang worked as a community organizer in Detroit for nearly a decade. She served as the state director for NextGen Climate Michigan, the alumni engagement and evaluation coordinator for the Center for Progressive Leadership in Michigan, the community engagement coordinator for the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, the deputy director for the Campaign for Justice, an organizer for Michigan United/One United Michigan and as an assistant to Grace Lee Boggs. She is a co-founder and past president of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote-Michigan and served as a mentor with the Detroit Asian Youth Project.

Chang is the first Asian American woman elected to the Michigan legislature. She was raised in Canton and is the daughter of parents who emigrated from Taiwan to pursue greater opportunities. Chang is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in public policy and in social work. Chang and her husband, Sean Gray, live in Detroit and are the parents of a young daughter.

Maria Ibarra-Frayre is the Southeast Michigan regional organizer for We the People Michigan. She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old and grew up Southwest Detroit and Dearborn. Maria has been fighting for immigrant justice for almost a decade, including grassroots organizing and political advocacy. She works closely with grassroots organizations to create alternative systems of immigrant-centered support and working to put people of color and women in positions of leadership. Maria graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy with a degree in English, and then went on to get a Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan. On her free time Maria likes going for hikes, drinking expensive tea, and trying to publish her poetry.

















Workshops Topics May Include (Please check back as this list will be updated as workshops are confirmed):

The Intersection of Social Work and Law Enforcement

Derrick Jackson, LMSW, Director of Community Engagement - Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office

This session demonstrates the value of infusing social work principles within the criminal justice system and gives real life examples of how this work is impacting the daily interactions of police and the community they serve within Washtenaw County. It also calls into question the social workers role in the larger national dialogue around police/community relations.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic: Community Responses to Address a Crisis

Linda Vail, MPA, Ingham County Health Officer

The workshop will provide an overview of the opioid epidemic from a historic (causative) perspective and will compare national trends to those seen locally. In addition to understanding local trends, the workshop will provide a call to action related to the need for community solutions from a cross-sector of partners, including non-traditional partners.

Role of Advocacy in Promoting Social Change: The Raise the Age MI Campaign

Jason Smith, LMSW, Youth Justice Policy Associate - Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency


Michigan is one of only 5 states that automatically sees 17 year olds as adults in the eyes of the court, regardless of the crime. This workshop will highlight the current effort to "raise the age" of juvenile jurisdiction in Michigan from 17 to 18. While learning about the RTA campaign, the workshop will detail the key components of an advocacy campaign and provide an overview of the ways in which advocacy serves as a powerful tool for social change.


Housing is EVERYTHING: Advocating for Affordable Housing in Michigan

Laurel Burchfield, Manager of Marketing, Growth, and Development at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH) & Panel of Homeless Service Providers

We are in an affordable housing crisis. There is not a single county in Michigan where someone working full time at minimum wage can afford a 1 bedroom rental. Over 63,000 individuals - including youth, families, seniors and veterans - experienced homelessness in 2017 with countless others at-risk of losing their home. Michigan needs more resources and solutions to better serve this vulnerable population. Learn how advocates are taking this message all the way from the local level to Washington DC and how you can become involved.


Transforming Ourselves, Our Clients, and The World: How Social Movement-Building Is Critical in the Clinical Space

Aaron Handelsman, Professional Coach and Consultant - Aaron D. Handelsman Coaching & Consulting


You say you want to be part of the solution, but how are you defining the problem? This session will explore how, as clinicians, educating ourselves about our historical and current sociopolitical context enables us to create transformational space for our clients, deepen the structural impact of our practice, and expand our sense of purpose, capacity, belonging, and contribution to the field, and our world.


A Primer in Political Social Work

Justin Hodge, LEO Adjunct Lecturer & Continuing Education Instructor - University of Michigan School of Social Work


This workshop provides participants with an introduction to Political Social Work, which is social work practice, theory, and research that focuses on the use of policy and politics to create social change. Participants will explore theories in Political Social Work, discuss case studies that illustrate how politics impact the lives of those served on both a micro and macro level, and examine the ethical obligation for social workers to engage in social and political action as outlined in the Code of Ethics. Participants will also engage in a discussion about opportunities for them to integrate Political Social Work into their practice.


Planned Parenthood and Your Clients: Access, Legislation, and Advocacy

Ethan Schmitt, Mid-Michigan Community Organizer for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan


In this engaging workshop, participants will get an overview of Planned Parenthood's services- how we provide Care- No Matter What! As part of a client's right to self-determination and wellness, social workers will learn how and why clients may access Planned Parenthood services. Participants will get educated and fired up about the legislation in Michigan and beyond that effects patient's rights and access to Planned Parenthood's crucial sexual and reproductive health services. They will also learn how to fight for better reproductive care across the state.


Who is Behind Bars? Perception vs. Reality

Heather Garretson, Campaign Coordinator, Campaign for Smart Justice, ACLU of Michigan


True or False - people in jail have been convicted of a crime? True or False - if you are presumed innocent, you may not locked up in jail? True or False - the cost of incarceration is the amount of tax dollars it takes to run to incarcerate people? ALL FALSE.

Why are over 50% of people in Michigan jails denied their freedom but have not been convicted of a crime?  How can we change a system that incarcerates thousands of people who are presumed innocent? What is the true societal cost of incarceration? Join the ACLU of Michigan's Smart Justice team for this workshop to find out!


Islamophobia in the Era of Trump

Habib Hamidi, PhD, Computational Biologist, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Xenophobia has unfortunately been associated with the history of the country.  In the era of Trump, islamophobia has taken center stage.  In this worshop we discuss why islamophobia is a problem in the era of Trump specially the origin of the concept and it's permutation.   We learn more about the demographics of American-Muslims and their history in America.  Have they been contributing member of society?


Understanding and Responding to the U.S. Immigration System and Recent Humanitarian Crises

Ana Raquel Devereaux, Staff Attorney, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center


Children separated from their parents, zero tolerance policy, immigration detention, public charge- The news has teeming with issues surrounding immigration in recent months. This workshop will begin by providing a brief overview of the U.S. immigration system and place current events in this context, as well as provide some insider perspective form MIRC's experience with clients on all of these issues. This workshop will also address some ways in which these issues specifically touch on the social work profession and action steps that can be taken.


Human Trafficking - What Is It and What Can I Do About It?

Merkeb Yohannes, Senior Program Director, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence


Do you believe that anything you do to make people less vulnerable will help end human trafficking? Together, we will look at a framework grounded in being  survivor centered, trauma informed, and intersectional as an approach  to serving survivors of Human Trafficking.  This workshop will help you learn how you can employ these tenents in your professional settings and identify potential relevant next steps upon 

identifying a survivor.


Beyond Nassar: Lessons and Agents of Change

Erin Roberts, Senior Program Director, NPMP, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence

The impact of the crimes committed by Larry Nassar will continue to be felt by the survivors, their families, and the communities they were in for a lifetime. His tactics are not his alone. We will explore how sexual assault is a systemic issue, perpetrator tactics, and the change social workers can create to work toward ending sexual violence.


Preventing Veteran Suicide

Kevin Holzinger, Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program Manager, U.S. 

Veteran Affairs Medical Center

Suicide is much to prevalent within the Veteran population. It is important that we come together as one community, public and private entaties alike, to ensure that we are providing the care and resources our Veterans need and so richly deserve.


Black Lives Matter in Social Work

Angela Waters Austin, CEO One Love Global, Inc. and LaShawn Erby, 

BSW, CEO One in a Billion Consulting

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an intersectional global movement that grew out of a hashtag and bus trip to support Ferguson residents after the police shooting of Michael Brown. The workshop will provide insights into the structure and priorities of the BLM Network and dispel common myths and misperceptions. The workshop will highlight how activists, students and practitioners are supporting BLM and how others can get involved in this transformational micro and macro social work.


Even Grandma Uses It: Social Media and Digital Organizing

Denzel McCampbell, Deputy Communications Director, Engage Michigan

As more people get information from the digital space, we must engage with tools that will help us to reach as many people as possible. This workshop will walk attendees through best practices on how boost issue work through campaigns on social media, email, and other digital avenues. Participants will be equipped with tangible actions that will help them start educating and bringing folks into causes the second they walk out of the room!

Tentative LEAD Schedule

  • 8:00-8:50am Registration
  • 9:00-9:30am Welcome Address & Student Scholarship Awards
  • 9:30-10:30am Morning Keynote Address (1 CE)
  • 10:40am-12:00pm Breakout Sessions #1(1.5 CEs)
  • 12:00-1:20pm Lunch & Social Worker of the Year Award Presentation
  • 1:30 - 2:50pm Breakout Sessions #2 (1.5 CEs)
  • 3:00-4:20pm Afternoon Keynote (1.5 CEs)
  • 4:40pm Group Picture at Michigan Capitol Building



If you would like to register multiple attendees or groups please contact Tricia McCarthy at 517-487-1548, ex 16

Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities


Sponsorship Opportunities

Full Sponsorship: $2,500.00

Signage displaying your organization/company name at registration and general sessions, verbal acknowledgement during announcements, listing in The Bridge newsletter, conference app and on website; one conference app push to attendees, two complimentary conference registrations, conference exhibit table.


Additional Sponsorship Opportunities:

$1,000 - Continental Breakfast

Verbal acknowledgement during announcements, listing in The Bridge newsletter, conference app and on website, 1 complimentary conference registration


Verbal acknowledgement during announcements, listing in The Bridge newsletter, conference app and on website, 1 complimentary conference registration


Verbal acknowledgement during announcements, listing in The Bridge newsletter, conference app and on website, 1 complimentary conference registration

Additional support provided by:

  • NASW Assurance Services
  • Flint Odyssey House


Please contact Tricia McCarthy at or at 517-487-1548, ex 16 with questions or to reserve your sponsor spot. Click here to download the full sponsor list.

Exhibitor Opportunities


Exhibitor Fees:

  • Schools of Social Work and non-profits: $200.00 per table
  • Governmental Agencies: $250.00 per table
  • For-profit groups and vendors: $300.00 per table

Click here to download an exhibitor registration form.


Exhibitors to Include:

  • ACLU of Michigan
  • Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA)
  • Ferris State University Social Work Program
  • Flint Odyssey House
  • Hope Network
  • Indiana University School of Social Work
  • Madonna University Social Work Program
  • Michigan Political Action for Candidate Election Committee
  • Michigan Voice
  • Michigan State University School of Social Work
  • NASW-Michigan Chapter
  • University of Michigan School of Social Work
  • Voters Not Politicians

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