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Getting in Good Trouble. Remembering John Lewis

Saturday, August 8, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Maxine Thome
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“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America”  Congressman John Lewis.

On July 17, 2020 the United States lost a true hero and this hero was Congressman John Lewis. The above quote from John Lewis moves me to continue my effort to question everything that interferes with social justice in this country.  It is a quote that ought to touch the spirit of every social worker and every school of social work. This must be at the foundation of our profession. We social workers must “get in trouble, necessary trouble “ and make sure that the inequities we are facing in today’s life does not continue.

John Lewis was at the front of the Civil Rights movement, the Voter’s Rights Movement and was a founder of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee.  He was by the side of Martin Luther King, Jr. as they marched across the Edmund Petiss Bridge on the day that  became known as Bloody Sunday.  During Bloody Sunday he was beaten by police and jailed yet he continued his belief in nonviolence. He truly did his best to get in ”good trouble, necessary trouble, to return the soul of America”.

In the year 2020 and in the years leading up to 2020 we have seen our country experience an ugliness unlike anything experienced during many of our lifetimes. We have seen the murder of Black men and women by police. We have seen the cruel treatment and detention of refugees and refugee children. We are living in a pandemic that is impacting the lives of poor and disenfranchised people in a disproportionate way…and we must “get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America”.

It is so important that we as social workers live the life that Congressman John Lewis wanted true activists to lead. We are a profession that, although troubled by our own troubled and sometimes racist history, has also risen to forge paths for social justice. This is our time to honor the teachings of John Lewis and the other leaders of the Civil Rights movement and do what we are bound to do by our training, by our code of ethics and by our hearts which is to not sit idly by but rather to:

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America”

Thank you John Lewis for your years of dedication and may you rest in Peace knowing that your work will continue.

Maxine Thome, PhD, LMSW, ACSW, MPH

Executive Director, NASW-Michigan

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