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Legislative Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD)
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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. CEs will be awarded to licensed attendees.

When: November 6, 2019
9:00 am- 4:40 pm
Where: Lansing Center
333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, Michigan  48933
United States
Contact: Tricia McCarthy
517-487-1548, ex 16

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2019 Legislative Education and Advocacy Day

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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.


CEs will be awarded to licensed attendees.

NASW Student Members-$39, Student Non-Members-$59, NASW Members-$80, Non-Members-$100

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


Please revisit this page for updated information on workshops, presenters, and other conference details. 


Keynote Speakers: 


Jocelyn Benson is the Secretary of State of Michigan. She is also the former Dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan, a co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan and a board member of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.

Yousef Rabhi is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives currently serving as the Democratic Floor Leader. He represents Michigan's 53rd House District, encompassing the majority of Ann Arbor, since 2017




Special Guest Speaker:


JooYeun Chang is the senior deputy director for MDHHS’s Children’s Services Agency, where she oversees the state’s child welfare system, including Children’s Protective Services, the foster care system, adoption services, and juvenile justice programs.


2019 Legislative Education and Advocacy Day Tentative 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
  • 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 (WEAR WARM CLOTHES AND SCHOOL COLORS)

Exhibitor and Sponsorships Available: LEAD is a fantastic way to reach potential advocacy partners, customers, students, and future employees. Click here to find out more about the various sponsorship levels available. 

*Can't make it in person? No problem, digital exhibitor space is available for the first time at 2019 LEAD! 


Current Sponsors:

Tentative Workshop Topics:

  • Immigration Update on Public Charge

    • Melanie Jones, Staff Attorney, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
    • This workshop will provide an understanding the effects of the new "public charge" rule on immigrant and intending-immigrant families. This workshop will discuss what it means to be a "public charge", how this classification impacts immigration status, how this rule changed on October 15, 2019, and what it means for individuals receiving public benefits going forward.
  • The Success & Survival ofRefugee Resettlement in Tumultuous Times
    • Ben Cabanaw, State Refugee Coordinator at the Office of Global Michigan; Judi Harris, Director of Refugee Services at St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Erika Brown-Binion Executive Director at the Refugee Development Center ; Joel Wheeler Case Manager, URM Foster Care - Samaritas
    •  The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program has undergone a crisis of function.  It has been politicized and confronted with misinformation, infrastructural changes, and constant chaos.  Michigan’s State Refugee Coordinator and three Lansing-area refugee service providers will deliver a history and backdrop to the refugee resettlement and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors programs and systems.  The workshop will explore the historical foundations of the program, the current political context and changes to the program, as well as service delivery and engagement opportunities.
  • Shape Michigan's future! How Can You Help Ensure That All Michiganders Have A Voice In Their Representation

    • Jamie Lyons Eddy, Voters Not Politicians
    • In 2018, Michigan voters took the politicians' power to draw their own election maps away and put that power in the hands of voters by creating a fair, impartial, and transparent redistricting process. If you are a registered Michigan voter, you are eligible to apply!
  • Understanding the Opioid Epidemic: Community Responses to the Largest Addiction Epidemic in US History

    • Linda Vail, Health Officer, Ingham County Health Department
    • 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.
  • Advocacy: Unleash Your Power

    • Jayme Vosovic, MSW and Dwayne Barnes Jr., MPA, Michigan League for Public Policy
    • Every person has the power to activate change. Unleash your power and join Dwayne and Jayme from MLPP to expand your advocacy tool belt. This workshop--targeted to social workers--will help you navigate state government and the budget process, effective messaging and advocacy while using an equity lens.
  • Voting Rights in Michigan Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

    • Sharon Dolente, Voting Rights Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan
    • This workshop will explore disparities in civic participation in Michigan of historically disfranchised communities, explain the historic expansion of voting rights that took place in Michigan in 2018, and engage attendees in increasing civic participation and eliminating historical disparities.
  • Throw me a lifeline!: How Social Workers, Labor Unions and Communities Can Organize Together For Power and Social Justice Around The Student Debt Crisis

    • Lisa Laverty, Regional Organizer, American Federation of Teachers and Laura Martinez, LMSW,  Lecturer of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University
    • 45 million people are drowning in a collective 1.6 trillion dollars in student debt in the US today. In this workshop we briefly examine the context and intersectional impacts of the student debt crisis, as well as highlighting two under-utilized federal programs that may help many people reduce the burden of student debt. We then turn to a social justice discussion of ways in which labor unions, students, and communities can organize together to offer relief, build power, and advocate for a more just system of high-quality, affordable higher education.
  • Food Insecurity on College Campuses: Moving Beyond the Ramen Diet

    • Maria Beam, Director of Social Work Oakland University and Rae Johnson, LLMSW-Macro, Golden Grizzlies Pantry
    • This presentation will discuss the implications of food insecurity within the context of higher education. Presenters will share how students experienced food insecurity and the effect on student learning outcomes. To conclude, this presentation will highlight important recommendations for higher education institutions to consider in establishing a variety of food relief initiatives that address the issue of student hunger and challenge policies preventing students from getting the support they need. Finally, we will describe several university-based strategies and campus-wide initiatives that address food insecurity and provide examples how social work students are best positioned to address this issue on their college campus and ways to engage students in these campus-based initiatives. 
  • The Intersection of Social Work and Criminal Justice

    • Derrick Jackson, Director of Community Engagement, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, Alyssa S. Gunderson, LLMSW-Clinical
    • This session demonstrates the value of infusing social work principles within the criminal justice system. We call into question the social workers role in the larger national dialogue around police/community relations and take a look at social workers who are reforming the criminal justice system right here in Michigan. First, we discuss how this work is impacting the daily interactions of police and the communities they serve in Washtenaw County. Then we share the innovative work being done by social workers within the Muskegon County Public Defenders Office. 
  • A Clean Slate For Second Chances in Michigan

    • Joshua B. Hoe, Policy Analyst, Safe & Just Michigan
    • The clearance of public criminal records can be critical to employment, housing, and meaningful return from incarceration. We will discuss Michigan's journey towards broader expungement laws, the evidence for and how impacted people will benefit.
  • One Good Tool for Dismantling Racism
    • B. Jo Ann Mundy, Organizer & Trainer  and Samantha Weaver, Organizer & Trainer  at Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity - ERRACE
    • The purpose of this antiracism presentation is to: 1) provide an introduction to the definition of racism used at ERACCE and Crossroads Antiracism; 2) explore and deepen participants' understanding of systemic racism and; 3) build participants' capacity for effective conversations regarding systemic racism.
  • The Red Donut: LGBTQ+ Advocacy In West Michigan
    • Thomas Pierce, LMSW, Grand Rapids Pride Center
    • The second largest city in Michigan and one of the fasting growing cities in the country, Grand Rapids is Michigan’s “Cool City.” A politically “blue” area surrounded by wealthy red conservative “donut” on all sides, Grand Rapids is the center of one of the most philanthropic areas of the country, offering a plethora of funding sources for community service organizations. Except if you’re a LGBTQ community center.

  • Getting To The SUD's: Everything You Need To Know To Be SUD Credentialed

    • James Schepper, Executive Director, PhD, LPC, CAADC, CCS,CSPTS, TICC, Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals
      Substance Abuse continues destroy lives for both the addicted person as well as families. MCBAP (Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals) is dedicated to credentialing clinicians to effectively and help those in need of substance abuse services. There are 6 credentials offered through MCBAP in cooperation with IC&RC (International Consortium & Reciprocity Consortium). These Credentials validate skills needed to efficiently deal with people suffering. This presentation will focus on the importance of MCBAP accreditation, the skill domains associated with SUD treatment, as well as the process of getting credentials. Hopefully, we will have some fun as well
  • Stand with Children: How Title IX Advocacy can keep K-12 children in school after experiencing Gender-Based and Sexual Violence.
    • Tashmica Torok, Executive Director, Firecracker Foundation
      As a social worker, you may be one of the first people to hear when a youth is struggling in school after experiencing gender-based and/or sexual violence. What can you do to help? Come to this workshop to learn more about Title IX rights, non-litigation strategies for seeking accommodations, and what help families can get from Title IX advocates from The Firecracker Foundation.

  • Make em' Care! How to Organize a Statewide Campaign to Change the way Michigan Cares about LTSS
    • Laura Depalma, MSW, Campaign Director, Michigan United - Caring Majority
      The workshop will focus on grassroots organizing practices including coalition building, telling our stories and disrupting the dominant narrative, 1:1s and direct lobbying to win policy change around issues related to care.
  • Building a Healthy Michigan: Ways to Advance the Health of Michiganders
    • Meghan Groen, Health Policy Advisor, The Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Make an impact at LEAD

For the first time in LEAD history, attendees will have the opportunity to support community organizing efforts by social workers across the state. NASW-Michigan is excited to be partnering with the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry and the Association of Black Social Workers-Wayne State Chapter for this year's conference. Food and toy donations will be collected throughout the day. 


Food Drive

OU Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry 

 Toys for Tots Donation

Association of Black Social Workers-WSU

The Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry was launched October 2018, with the assistance and guidance from Oakland University Social Work Program and Office for Student Involvement.  The mission of the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry is to assist students, faculty, and staff in need by providing food and community resources to positively impact their overall well-being and success at Oakland University. We envision a campus in which students, faculty, and staff have access to food and basic necessities to reduce food insecurity and be successful at Oakland University.






LEAD will be a toy drop off location in partnership with the Association of Black Social Workers-Wayne State Chapter. LEAD attendees are invited to bring new unwrapped toys and deposit them at a collection boxes in the main conference hall.
















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