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Why social workers are key to creating a just society

Image credit: Burst/Pexels

It is September 7, 2020. It is a Labor Day. And I am sitting at home thinking about what this day represents.

During these past six months, and counting, there has been endless opportunities for thinking, pondering, and self-reflection, and this is another one of those days.

Labor Day is a public holiday held in honor of working people. It is a day to honor and recognize the American labor force, and the works and contributions of laborers to the social and economic developments and achievements in the US.

There are thousands of different jobs and careers one can have or pursue. One can be an engineer, cook, grocery store cashier, physician, photographer, small business owner, or a journalist. E

Each of these jobs, and the countless many others, contribute to our American society. There is one job that I would like to highlight: social worker.

Being a social worker is so much more than a job or a title though; it is a way of life.

Being a social worker means you believe in the core values of our profession: service, integrity, competence, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, and social justice.

Being a social worker means you have empathy, compassion, care, and love for others.

Being a social worker means you advocate for social equality and equity.

Being a social worker leads to many different jobs in many different agencies and organizations focusing on many different social problems using many different interventions, treatments, and modalities.

A social worker can work in the criminal justice system providing therapy and rehabilitation services to the incarcerated.

A social worker can work in the health care system with individuals who are suffering from physical health conditions and illnesses.

A social worker can work in the school system creating an anti-bullying campaign for middle-school students.

A social worker can campaign and run for a legislative position in their state government. Whether they are in micro, mezzo, or macro practice, social workers should definitely be honored and recognized on Labor Day. Social workers are crucial to the developments and achievements of a just US society.

And as social workers, we strive to help the unemployed and the underemployed. We help those who struggle to find employment, and those who struggle to maintain stable employment.

It is our commitment and responsibility to see their strengths and to empower them. These individuals are contributors to the developments and achievements in the US. Being in a program that incorporates Critical Race Theory into social work praxis, we must take into account the tenets of racism is ordinary, interest convergence, differential racialization, and intersectionality.

These concepts and themes impacted the labor movement and the history of laborers.

With differential racialization, we come to understand how various racial groups have been racialized in different ways in response to the different needs of the majority group, and oftentimes, the needs were economical. Targeted groups were exploited for their labor.

The exploited are contributors to the developments and achievements in the US. We must recognize all contributors.


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