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News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Raising Social Works’ Collective Voice

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Duane Breijak
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Reflecting on the time I spent as NASW-Michigan Board President I felt the need to share a few thoughts with you. Most importantly, thank you to all of the social workers out there who have been and continue to be engaged in the struggle for positive change. In my opinion, social workers are warriors! My definition of a warrior is mostly about the things one does. It is about a lifelong commitment to improvement. Social workers possess a warrior spirit! You are making a difference. I have the highest respect for you and I believe in you. 

We continue to face SO MANY critical issues that go against our social work values. Injustices like racism, exploitation, oppression and discrimination are ongoing all around us. I recognize that I don’t need to give you words to express the importance of our actions right now.

In July 2018, I sent an introduction letter as the new Board President. Within that letter I announced engagement as the “theme” of what I had hoped to accomplish and outlined my top three priorities to assist with enhancing engagement as:

  1. *Adding Value 

  2. **Maximizing Collaboration 

  3. ***Improving Diversity 

*We were able to add several meaningful programs and services including the annual conference back to Michigan.

**We improved relationships within the organization by addressing barriers head on.

***We focused on representation that fosters a desire to rally together and strengthen our collective voice.

A great amount of work was completed to enhance engagement over the past couple of years so that deserves acknowledgment. However, as I stated before, social workers are warriors and are VERY engaged, so perhaps pushing engagement wasn’t the right area of focus.

In hindsight, we must focus on the importance of organizing our engagement into more of a collective effort. In my experience as a combat Veteran…when warriors unite to fight for a common cause they can be unstoppable. I humbly admit that I cannot provide answers to how to achieve our collective goals, but I do know that unity and organization will help. I also know that membership to a social work professional organization like NASW is becoming a less and less popular notion (evidenced by the consistent trend of decreasing memberships over time). It may seem biased using this platform, but NASW membership is one way we can organize our engagement within the social work profession. So, in the spirit of a true social work warrior I pledge to stay committed with you through active participation and membership. So, my ask to you is to encourage others to consider engaging through membership, and share your thoughts anytime with our new Board President Barb Hiltz ( about ways to improve! 


Kevin Holzinger, LMSW, ACSW

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