The social work profession–with its commitment to social justice–should be a steadfast presence in the ongoing struggles of our day. As the American economy recovers from the depths of a major recession, poverty remains high for large portions of the population including nearly half of all children. Endemic police violence continues to plague communities of color and the growing generation of millennials–now outnumbering Baby Boomers–finds itself displaced from the economy and without a political voice.
What is the role of social work in this world?
The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) believes the answer is political leadership. Formed in 2012, CRISP has been working tirelessly with the Congressional Social Work Caucus and other federal agencies to bridge the gap between professional practice and lawmakers, facilitate legislative field placements for social work students, and expand participation of social workers in the political process.
Beginning September 28, 2015, CRISP will launch the Student Advisory Council–popularly known as #YSocialWork–as a membership-based organization for social work students and young professionals. The Council seeks to assist in the development of emerging social work leaders and to ensure the promotion of social workers as future candidates for political appointments and elected offices. The Council serves as a bridge between students and young professionals, CRISP, and the Congressional Social Work Caucus by facilitating platforms for young professionals to engage with legislators and congressional staff about the need for professional growth and innovation in the field; offering educational forums for all social work students on legislative and policy processes; and by building a support foundation for the Council’s stability and longevity through direct service, community outreach, and community-based research. #YSocialWork firmly plants itself in a position to help increase the contributions of emerging social work leaders on Capitol Hill and to effectively optimize societal health for generations to come.
The Student Advisory Council will achieve its vision through an annual Advocacy Day Forum on Capitol Hill; virtual and in-person networking events featuring representatives from the Congressional Social Work Caucus, CRISP, and other social work leaders; innovative community service campaigns; and a digital educational platform promoting civic engagement. Please share with your cohort, students, and other networks as we prepare to take bold action in redefining the social work profession as one committed to achieving social justice through political action.