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News & Press: Advocacy

ACTION ALERT! Government Shut Down - What You Can Do!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Algeria Wilson
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Dear NASW Members,


I am getting increasingly frustrated and angry at the ongoing partial government shut-down. Whether you agree with the President or not, as social workers we know of the pressures and sacrifices individuals and families, who are not getting paid, are going through. From concerns about paying the mortgage or rent, to buying gas, food, medicine or paying for a child’s extra-curricular classes, this shut-down, the longest in U.S. History, is causing unnecessary pain. As you know, for it has been well publicized, this week 800,000 federal workers missed their first paycheck. What is less publicized is the hundreds of thousands more workers who are not working because they are contractors for federal agencies, such as cleaning services, or are small businesses that depend on the federal workforce for their businesses success, such as restaurants or markets, or workers who are in industries that provide goods and services to now shut down federal agencies. These individuals, caught in a negative ripple effect, are getting reduced or no pay. Meanwhile, the lack of progress of talks to reopen the government causes anxiety amongst many of these individuals, as the employment future is unknown and a resolution is nowhere in sight.


As social workers and social justice activists I suspect you are feeling like I am, wondering what can I do? How do I make a stand? Who do I speak up too? How can I help?


The following are some ways that you can make a difference during this manufactured crisis:


  1. Local food banks will be seeing (and maybe already are) an increase in usage. Donate to your local food bank which can be found here.
  2. Check out local institutions that are offering assistance, such as banks and credit unions, who are offering interest free loans, so that you can inform clients directly affected. 211 is a good source of referrals for such assistance.
  3. Contact your Congress Members and our State’s U.S. Senators, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Gary Peters,  to express your outrage. Yes they are doing what they can, however it is useful to them to have constituent calls and emails. Sending a letter helps as well! Here is a template from our National Office! 
  4. If you have colleagues, family members, friends, etc. who live in a state represented by a Republican Senator(s), ask them to contact their Senator(s). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only refuse to allow a vote on reopening the government because his Caucus allows him to hold up any votes. If enough Republican Senators hear from enough constituents maybe the dynamics will change.
  5. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper about the harm being done to individuals and families.
  6. Individually or in small groups take to the streets to protest. Visibility actions bring it home and shows that we, members of our community, expect responsible action by our elected officials.

Say You Are A Social Worker!


Algeria Wilson

Director of Public Policy


517-487-1548 ex. 11


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