Social Workers Invade the State House

Well everyone, I apologize for the insanely long hiatus from posting. I think I fell out of love with blogging for a bit. Couple this with being busy with finishing up the past semester, starting summer classes, and Cade leaving for Denver, well..blogging just hasn’t been the first thing on my list. I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time indulging in self-care to combat the stress of all the busyness and in an attempt to prevent any negative effects of now being alone. Nevertheless, I am going to attempt to play catch up over the next two to three weeks, which takes us all the way back to March 30th. I know, crazy right!?

March 30th was LEAD Day in Boston. This is a huge legislative advocacy day at the state house, which essentially translates to thousands of social workers (mostly students) filling the state house to talk about legislative changes that need to be made in the mental health and social justice field, then bombarding legislators in order to advocate for these proposed changes.

It started as a typical March day in New England..with snow. Remember when it just kept snowing and snowing here? Nope? Me neither..let’s just let our brains continue to repress those memories of frigid cold days and nine feet of snow, as we look out onto the green grass and sunny days. Keep on repressing brains, do your thing.
It’s hard to tell in this photo, but there are little white dots of snow.20150330_092151

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I got inside and settled, the itinerary began with some speakers who were both motivational and educational. We went over the process of how to advocate and lobby for change and were motivated through the importance of social workers participating in government due to our “on the ground knowledge” (not my words, but I do agree). An exceptionally motivational speech was given by Professor Tiziana Dearing (represeting BCSSW!). She’s quite a passionate and fiery person by nature, which made her perfect for giving a speech to a group of social work students, geared towards motivating us to use our skills to evoke governmental change.

Once the speeches were over, we were set loose throughout the state house to find legislators and practice our newly learned advocacy skills. We had previously been directed to look at the legislative agenda, and while there was a bill aimed to increase loan forgiveness for social workers, I chose to advocate for a bill that proposed ending mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenses. I had 1) already contacted my local legislator about the loan forgiveness bill (booyah for being ahead of the pack!) and 2) been a strong believer in lowering the harshness of drug laws and sentencing for years.

Once we all were done wandering, we had a pretty good lunch and settled back in for our break out groups to discuss the bills in more detail. I had chosen to attend the Criminal Justice session, while dived more in detail about using solitary confinement in prison and reforming the bail and pre-trial system. Both of which were very interesting, and I now have some fairly strong opinions about both. I’m sure you can at least figure out my stance on the solitary confinement one.

By the end of the day, I was pretty motivated in my ability to make changes on a governmental level and was reminded of how important my work as a social worker is for society. Macro and government work always looms in the back of my mind as a possible career path. I’m sure this won’t be the last time legislators see my face.20150330_150850

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We even got a rare photo of the BCSSW class of 2016!11047922_10153180723674764_4931763307891254784_o

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