Last Wednesday, March 1st, I was fortunate enough to attend the NC-NASW’s Advocacy Day. Every other year NC-NASW puts together a day for Social Work professionals to learn about the biggest issues of concern in North Carolina legislature and are given the tools to set up meetings with their representatives to discuss how these issues affect practices and people in the field.
I have met with legislatures before when I was living in western North Carolina, but I had never done advocacy work on an individual basis. Since I knew I would be scheduling appointments with my representatives on my own, I was grateful for the talking point worksheets and resources that the Advocacy Day provided. It was also great to be surrounded by peers and faculty from the UNC School of Social Work. One of the most compelling components of the morning session were the speeches made by Gene Nichol of UNC School of Law and Graig Meyer, NC Representative of House District 50 (You can see Graig Meyer’s speech on his Facebook page.
It is important for social work students and professionals to advocate at the legislative level whenever possible. This is not just the work for macro social workers, but those involved in direct practice too. Our profession lends the privilege of providing a voice for populations who’s voices are not often given an opportunity to be raised. Additionally, it is in our Code of Ethics to take social action that benefits our client populations.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have practiced face-to-face advocacy and will continue to hold myself accountable in my professional and personal life to meet with representatives whenever possible.
Four of us from the 2018 Distance Education MSW cohort :).