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News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Moving Forward in Uncertain Times

Friday, January 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
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I spent Saturday, January 21st at the Women’s March in Lansing and left feeling hopeful and energized. As President Trump takes his seat as the 45th president there is much concern regarding his actions on many social justice and human rights issues core to our profession.  It has been easy to become discouraged as we look at philosophical changes that will impact policy and service delivery.  The March in Lansing, Washington and around the world offered a pathway to an important pushback.


Although the marches were centered on women’s rights it became apparent that we were a diverse group seeking justice and human rights on many levels.  There were women and men standing together with diverse ethnic, racial, religious, gender identity, sexual orientation, and economic representation…and we were there for core reasons that resonated with all present.  The reasons being to move forward in freedom, justice, and understanding, with a push for progressive policy and leadership that recognizes and respects human dignity.


Currently there is work being done at the federal level to defund Planned Parenthood.  The premise for defunding Planned Parenthood is the belief that abortions are promoted.  As many of us know that is not the reason for the existence of Planned Parenthood and they do not (and have not) used federal funds for the provision of abortions.  By defunding them many women and men will lose healthcare, prenatal care, safe birth control, gynecological care, and parenting classes. If defunding Planned Parenthood occurs it will mean the loss of health care for many, and when coupled with the undoing of the ACA many of us and our clients will be affected negatively.  The cost of health care will rise and many will be without adequate health coverage.


The marches focused on Women’s Rights while additional issues were highlighted and addressed by the speakers.  Farha  Abbasi, MD gave an important talk about discrimination against Muslim people.  This country belongs to all people who are living within our borders.  Immigration is the foundation of America.  As social workers we need to recognize the importance of stopping Xenophobia. We need to do this just as we work to stop racism, sexism, homophobia, trans phobia, anti-Semitism and all of the other discriminations and hate crimes occurring and supported by potential new policy changes.


Each time I listen to the news there is more that is disturbing.  We learned recently that the administration is working to open up the Dakota Pipeline. Many of you worked hard to support our Native brothers and sisters in resistance of the pipeline and now there is move to place the pipeline on sacred Native land.  The march also spoke of the importance of protecting the environment.


I ask that everyone keep the Niemoeller quote in your vision as we move forward.  The Women’s March is a sign of hope.  The. Finding the pathway to social justice is up to all of us.


“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

- Martin Niemöller


Maxine Thome PhD, LMSW, ACSW, MPH

Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers-Michigan Chapter

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