Category Archives: Events and Calls to Action

Election Year Resolutions

I’m a resolution-maker.

My husband, quite emphatically, is not. He claims that, if there’s something he wants to change about himself, he just does, and he doesn’t need to wait for a new year to do it.

The crazy-making thing is, he really does.

For me, though, there’s something powerful about the symbolism of committing oneself to a new goal, and of starting fresh towards a new end. And I love, love, love crossing things off lists. I’m eternally grateful for a husband who lets me even cross things off his list, since he just doesn’t get the same satisfaction out of it that I do.

I have some rules about my resolutions, primarily that they have to be things entirely within my own control (so I can’t make resolutions about things that I want done around the house, since it’s seldom I who do them, or about the state of the world, since, regrettably, I’m not in charge there, either), and they have to be concrete (so no, “exercise more” or other vague statements; those are too easy for me to forget about, or to fudge).

This year, I’m setting a special set of resolutions for a special “year”, the countdown to the very important 2012 elections. It’s just about one year until our nation will not only elect a President but also send a strong statement about the direction of the country, and, here in Kansas, of our state Senate, in particular. And there are some things that I simply must do, if I’m going to be able to look myself in the mirror, in November 2012, and feel that I’ve done my best this year. So these are my Election Year Resolutions.

As always, I’m most interested to hear yours. What are you planning to do to make your mark on the electoral process, and how do those goals fit into your overall advocacy vision between now and next November? Or, if you’re not a resolution person, what are you doing today to shape the course of the next election?

  • Donate at least $100 towards citizenship application fees for a new applicant: It costs more than $600 to become a U.S. citizen, even if you don’t have to pay an attorney. In today’s economy, and given the labor market facing many immigrants, that’s a pretty steep entrance fee to our democratic process. I know many people who really want to become citizens, and whose voices are desperately needed, for whom the fees are a real barrier. We need to provide some financial assistance in order to broaden the scope of political participation; it just might mean public policies that reduce the demand for ameliorative services on the back end, too.
  • Organize another citizenship workday: One of the most fun and rewarding activities in doing immigrant rights work is helping people become citizens, and, when you can work with dedicated immigration attorneys who donate their time, it’s a true joy. We processed 85 new citizens at a workday last July, and those folks should be eligible to vote in 2012. Individuals applying for citizenship now may not complete the process in time, but it’s about building momentum for the future, and about redeeming the vision of an American Dream.
  • Register at least 50 new voters: So registering voters can be a drag. I know that all too well. I’ve been cursed at while conducting nonpartisan voter registration drives in 100+ degree heat, and that’s no one’s idea of a great time. But I’ve also received phone calls of gratitude from new voters who relished their first ballot, and those make it worth it. I’ll volunteer my time to work on voter drives, either in conjunction with nonprofit organizations, organized voter efforts, or through my own connections to grassroots groups.
  • Door-knock at least 5 days for candidates I support: Going door-to-door is abundantly more fun now that I can take a kid with me; people just don’t yell at people with kids as much. We’ll probably do some primary work in June (hopefully before it gets too hot) and again during the general election. My sons like to race each other to see who can get up to the door first for literature drops, too which saves me a few steps!
  • Make at least 5 campaign contributions, most likely at the state level: We have four kids, so money doesn’t exactly flow abundantly around here, but money is a critically important part of the political process, and there is a real satisfaction in supporting candidates whose vision I believe in. I started to receive solicitations a few months ago, so the hardest part will be winnowing those requests down and being strategic about my contributions, but they’re in the budget, so we can make them happen.
  • Provide at least 25 hours of pro bono consulting assistance to nonprofit organizations looking to integrate GOTV strategies into their work: I don’t have a lot of time, either, but I know a fair amount about how nonprofit social service agencies can be effective in their voter engagement work, and I know that I can make a contribution in that arena. I’ve started to talk with some organizations that are interested, and we’re working up some strategies that will, we hope, have both a 2012 impact and lay a foundation for years to come.

    So, again, what are YOUR election year resolutions? What will you do to influence the world we’ll wake up to on Wednesday, November 7, 2012?

  • Celebrate your citizenship!

    This year notwithstanding, the 4th of July is all about family and fireworks for us these days; my husband and boys truly love to set stuff on fire, and this is their one chance to do so.

    But I make sure to always work in a celebration of our most precious privileges and responsibilities as citizens, especially after having spent years of Independence Days registering voters, rallying folks for comprehensive immigration reform, and reminding others of our shared heritage in this nation where so many are immigrants, or their descendants.

    So, this Fourth of July, in between firework displays or family cookouts or parades or however else you celebrate, here are five ideas for how to celebrate this country, and, in the process, keep the true spirit of Independence Day (rowdy uprising against an oppressive power) alive. Happy celebrating!

  • 1. Protest something: Grab some posterboard and a marker or sign a petition, or even dump some tea into the harbor, but make your grievances heard. There’s nothing more truly American than collective resistance, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
  • 2. Register someone to vote: Voting rights are being restricted all over the country, and, if we don’t change the political tide, the kinds of grassroots, community-based voter registration and GOTV drives that have brought people newly into the democratic process for years may become illegal, or at least very impractical. Before it’s too late, print some registration forms for your state and grab some pens. I used to register hundreds of people during some 4th of July celebrations; people are ashamed to say no on this most patriotic of holidays!
  • 3. Help someone become a citizen: There are literally millions of people who would love the chance at what so many of us take for granted–our U.S. citizenship. And there are so many ways that you can help these aspiring Americans: donate to an organization that provides legal and other assistance to future citizens, write to your member of Congress demanding action on humane and workable immigration reform, help someone study for the English and civics exam required for citizenship, babysit while someone takes an English class. It’s truly an awesome thing that so many people long to be part of this great country, and their full participation can only make it greater.
  • 4. Discover your family’s own immigrant story: If your family came here from somewhere else, do you know that story? When I ask my students to trace this journey, they often discover surprises: someone whose arrival wasn’t quite “legal”, stories of discrimination endured and heartaches transcended, and inspiring tales of those who risked everything to start anew in a strange land, much as today’s new arrivals do. If you don’t know those stories, it’s worth exploring them.
  • 5. Make our democracy work better: I can’t imagine a system of governance more suited to human liberation than a democratic one, and, every day when I raise my voice, I’m very grateful for the right to do so. Still, our democracy could be stronger, and there’s much we can do to work in that direction. Today, in honor of those who gave so much to forge a new vision, how about making a donation to an organization working for campaign finance reform or government transparency? Or advocating reform of voting laws to expand suffrage rights? Or investing in organizations that do community organizing and find ways to engage people fully in the system that represents them?

    You don’t even have to ride a horse at midnight to make a difference. Although a little “the budget cuts are coming!” might not be a bad idea….

    Happy Independence Day!

    Use it!

  • Your 2011 (yes, 2011) Get-out-the-vote strategy

    Yes, I know there’s not a major election in 2011. Here in Kansas, we had some local and school board elections last April, and so I get that very few people are now (as we head into summer!) thinking about voting, and specifically, how their nonprofit organizations should engage in the electoral process.

    Except that we must.

    Now.

    Because waiting until other people are talking about the elections, or we’ve gotten around to thinking about them, will be way too late.

    If we expect that the people we serve, many of whom absorb multiple messages a day about their marginalization in our society, will suddenly see themselves as integral parts of the political process when we register them to vote a month before the election….

    We’ll be disappointed.

    Again.

    So, I spent some time last week reviewing Nonprofit VOTE’s 2010 survey of nonprofit voter engagement strategies, and thinking about the lessons learned from that election cycle, and what they should mean for our efforts as we (yes, really) head into 2012.

  • The finding that, for me, was the most hope-filled, was that nonprofits are increasingly defining their voter engagement work as far surpassing voter registration or even GOTV. Voter education and broader civic engagement activities (sort of the “infrastructure”, in some ways, to later voter registration work) are occupying an increasingly important role in organizations’ approach to their clients as voters. Hurray! We need to make civic participation a default in the lives of those we serve, and we won’t do that if we reduce something as important as DETERMINING THE PEOPLE WHO WILL SET THE POLICY THAT STRUCTURES YOUR LIFE to a transaction that occurs on one day every 4 (or, if we’re lucky, 2) years.
  • We’re getting smarter about integrating our voter work, including voter registration, into the rest of our operations. If we want to do voter engagement year-round, which we must, then we have to do it sustainably. And that means including voter outreach in intake (which 25% of respondents do!), and finding ways to talk about issues and elections in normal interactions with clients. Still, half of respondents reported that only one staff person was responsible for the majority of the voter engagement work, and, as I’ve seen in my own practice, we have to think more broadly than that, so that all staff (and volunteers, and Board members) understand that we see our clients as co-creators with us of the change we want to see in the world, and that we share a responsibility to help them actualize it.
  • Nonprofits are starting to practice what we preach. Of course this survey, while it includes several hundred respondents, isn’t statistically representative. I know that. But, still, I’m encouraged by the almost 50% of organizations that encourage staff to volunteer as poll workers (including, in some cases, providing paid time off to do so), and those sponsoring candidate forums so that those they serve can learn more about the issues (bonus: the organizations have a higher profile and a stronger position from which to engage in advocacy, then, too!).
  • We’re getting serious about process. We know, and have known for more than a decade, that our electoral system needs some reforms, that people need help to figure out how to navigate the electoral process, and that our most vulnerable populations need special electoral protections. More nonprofits are figuring out ways to be involved in that work, too, working for reforms and educating clients about the system and connecting them to resources in the event of problems. That work can lay the foundation for a different conversation in the next electoral cycle.

    What about you? What voter engagement activities is your nonprofit organization implementing? Have you started that work for 2012 yet? What are your goals for voter registration, turnout, and education? How do you see voter engagement as connected to your overall mission?

  • Forgotten Victims: Immigrant Kids and ICE-cold Actions

    He didn't let cameras in when he met with the New Bedford families, but we'll never forget

    Saturday is International Children’s Day, so declared by the United Nations in 1954. And, so, it seemed like a good time to draw attention to the terrible consequences of harsh Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and other activities on children, both immigrants and U.S. citizens, who are caught up in our nation’s rush to criminalization.

    The Urban Institute has released several reports on the impact of high-profile ICE raids on immigrant kids and on recommendations for how to protect families and children in the conduct of immigration enforcement (hint: it means not whisking away mommies and daddies!). And, while the specific cases referenced were not workplace raids, there has even been an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights decision that U.S. deportation policies violate citizen children’s basic human rights.

    This is one of those issues that, despite my years of work on immigrant rights and social justice, I didn’t really “get” until after I became a mom. I mean, did I always think that it was absolutely horrible, the way that a parent could leave for work in the morning and then never come home? Yes. Did I always cry when I heard the story about the woman who was frantic after being arrested on her way to take some food to her husband at work, because she had a baby at home who had never taken a bottle before? Absolutely.

    But it wasn’t until my son was born that I could really begin to understand, at least a tiny bit, what some of these parents go through: cross the border illegally so my child had enough to eat? I’d do that. And if someone pulled me away from my child, treating me like a criminal for simply trying to provide a better life for him? It literally gives me nightmares; my stomach hurts when he cries when I have to drop him off at school.

    And, so, this mom thinks that this has to stop. That we can’t talk about “workplace enforcement” anymore as though it was some benign policy, the most rational thing in the world, instead of what it really is: a decision to rip families apart and ruin children’s lives in an afternoon. And we can’t conclude that it’s anything other than what it really is: unconscionable.

    Among the key findings of this longitudinal study examining how children fare in the aftermath of workplace raids that involved their parents:

  • Families fall apart–in some cases, children went to the parents’ country of origin, while in others they stayed in the U.S. with other family members.
  • Families suffer economically–these parents aren’t just caregivers, they’re wage-earners, too. Children suffer housing instability and food insecurity after parents are detained.
  • Children’s behavior and mental well-being are dramatically compromised–the study finds evidence of sleeping and eating changes, anger, frequent crying, clinging, and withdrawing. These deterioriations were even more pronounced, actually, in kids whose parents were arrested at home. All of these children are expressing their extreme distress in whatever way they know how, and we know that they, and we, will pay the price for years.
  • Communities and institutions, particularly schools, responded well, but their capacity is inadequate: immigrant children experienced a compassionate response in all of the communities studied in this report, which, to me, suggests the obvious: The American people abhor this kind of heavy-handed, indiscriminate enforcement and decry its effects on kids in their communities.

    Obviously, we need Congress to get the message that we need comprehensive immigration reform. These parents, and their children, wouldn’t be vulnerable to deportation and its collateral damages if they had the legal status that CIR would afford.

    In the meantime, ICE needs to operate under a regulatory mandate to focus, first, on removing criminals who also happen to be non-citizens, an enforcement strategy that is in all of our interests (and one that could use some additional attention; I know it’s easier to rack up arrests if you’re going after nursing moms rather than hardened criminals, but if you want to call yourself ICE, you’ve got to be tough, right?).

    And, second, we need an enforcement strategy that recognizes that these high-profile raids have all targeted the workers, not the employers, sending the message that we care more about, well, sending messages, than we do about getting employers to follow immigration law.

    If we’re going to try to enforce these broken laws, we’d better find out some higher-impact, more targeted ways to do it.

    And, above all, as the debate rages about immigration policy and how to proceed, we’ve got to agree on one core truth:

    First, we’ve got to get kids off the battlefield.

  • It’s my birthday! Let’s get people clean water!

    It’s no secret that I try really hard to pass along some of my values to my kids. I can’t imagine many parents who don’t. It’s not about indoctrinating them; it’s about being transparent about who I am, and why, and how that identity is tied to my beliefs about our responsibilities as part of this huge world.

    And, while I often wonder, like most parents, where my children get certain traits (except that I know where my daughter gets her impatience, obviously!), I think that I see a lot of my curiosity about others and fundamental interest in others’ well-being in my children, too, especially my oldest son.

    The children in our church were invited about a year ago to help to raise money for a water filtration system in Mexico. The kids got these plastic bottles to use for banks, and they collected some coins.

    And Sam has been pretty serious about it.

    He has shaken down more than a few visitors to our house, darted across parking lots to retrieve lost pennies, and asked mournfully for “paper money” from some of his donors. When my mother-in-law paid him $2 for helping to sell plants last spring, he said, “I’m so proud of myself. I can help with the water!” And when he found a quarter and his father offered that he could keep 12 cents and donate the other 13, he looked at him and said, “Daddy, I don’t need 12 cents.” It all went in the jar.

    And, so, for this birthday, I want to not only use my own money to help others (and, I hope, convince some of my friends to do so, too), but also show Sam that Mommy shares his conviction that (as he often puts it in his ‘pitch’), “everyone should have clean water when they’re thirsty.”

    You can visit my Facebook cause here. And make a donation if you’re so inclined. And leave a note for me to share with Sam, too. We’ll celebrate my birthday together by writing out our own donation, dumping his bottle of coins in the collection jar, drinking some clean water, and rejoicing in the love of a family that believes together…and helps together.

    The next frontiers for voting rights

    President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Amidst rather uniformly dismal election results for those of us committed to a vigorous collective response to the challenges that face us, including the truly concerning recall of judges over disputes of ideology in Iowa (a major blow to the doctrine of judicial impartiality and separation of powers), there was one bright spot:

    Kansas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to strip the legislature of the power to deny Kansas citizens with mental illnesses the right to vote.

    It’s one of those things that I can’t imagine 289,740 people voting against really, but it’s still encouraging that 482,222 voted for it, and especially rewarding to see the grassroots campaign that mental health advocates, including a strong consumer contingent, put together to take advantage of this opportunity to educate the public about mental illness, civil rights, and the importance of equality.

    So, see–something good from November 2, 2010.

    But, especially in the aftermath of Election Day, we’ve got serious work to do, and not just to protect critical policies and continue to push for progressive advances in tax policy, the social safety net, economic recovery, entitlement reform, health care reform, K-12 and higher education and, well, just about every other aspect of American life.

    We’ve also got to make voting rights a top priority.

    We need to expand suffrage, and vigorously defend it, not just because increasing the number of people who can and do vote is a good way to ensure that we’ll be happier with the outcome. We need to prioritize voting rights, too, because it restores the American ideal of an engaged citizenry, and it makes us proud of who we are and what we can do, together.

    Our finest moments have been when we realize that the rights of citizenship are the most secure, and the most honored, when they’re extended broadly and valued deeply.

    On the list that demands our attention:

  • Commitment to easing the process of re-entry for ex-felons, and revisiting the process of even temporarily denying voting rights to those who commit crimes–this is important not just because it expands the right to vote but also because it sends a message to those who are incarcerated: “we don’t want you cut off from the society into which we’ll expect you to successfully reintegrate”
  • Defense against restrictive photo ID requirements–I want to scream every time someone says, “but you even need to show ID to see a movie.” Um, last time I checked, seeing an R-rated movie is NOT a constitutionally-protected right. Voting is. Unless we’re going to provide free, easily available photo identification to all American citizens, with exceptions for those with religious objections to photographs, requiring photo identification to vote is a poll tax, it’s abhorrent, and we can’t stand for this attack on democracy masquerading as concern with (largely invented) “voter fraud”. I almost wrecked my car when I heard about the Obama Administration dropping its legal challenge to Georgia’s voter identification requirements. This could move us back to 1964, and our nation can’t afford that.
  • Aggressive protection of voter privacy and the integrity of the election system–I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think that the private companies that manufacture voting machines are intent on overtaking our elections. But I am very concerned about two things: first, that there’s enough truth to the threat of that scenario to make some people wary of the election process and, second, that it does represent another example of turning some of our most sacred public functions over to private companies. There are some things that government should just do itself, whether or not it’s the most efficient, because to farm it out just looks bad and, well, running the democratic process is one of those.
  • A constitutional amendment specifically guaranteeing the right to vote–108 democratic nations have this language, while the U.S. and 10 others don’t. Words do matter, and having these words in the U.S. Constitution could provide the legal foundation for challenges to all of the exclusions above, too, setting the stage for a reorientation towards an affirmative right to civic participation that has to be disproven, rather than the effective opposite, which is the status quo.

    It’s time for a national conversation not just about the results of our elections but the process of them: do we want paper ballots again? what about open-source electronic voting technology? should we have mandatory public audits of elections? if so, who should conduct them? how would we engage the public in oversight of elections, and how could this make a difference in how people engage in the acts of democracy? why can’t people register to vote on Election Day?

    Did you see any violations of voting rights this past Election Day? Did your clients vote? If not, why not? What changes to voting laws might facilitate their participation? What are your thoughts about expanding suffrage rights in the next decade?

  • The more things change: the case for CIR, then and now

    When I gave speeches about the need for immigration reform, I used to talk about how we were revisiting a lot of the same issues that plagued the nation in the early 1980s: the need for legalization for undocumented immigrants working in the country, the toll that family separation takes on our communities, and the insecurity born of a system showing obvious signs of strain. I used the point to reinforce the need to really fix the nation’s immigration system, so that we wouldn’t have to revisit these same debates and fears and tragedies every couple of decades.

    I should have gone a bit farther back in history.

    When I read The Woman Behind the New Deal last summer, there were several passages about Frances Perkins’ work overseeing the immigration department, which then fell under the Department of Labor (kind of interesting, really, given how we continue to view immigrants as valuable chiefly/solely for their labor contributions, but subsequently moved the INS to the Department of Justice (connected to our criminalization of immigrants) and then to Homeland Security (consistent with our conflation of migration and terrorism). My guess is that we’re not moving ICE to DHHS any time soon!)

    What I found most stunning was her statement to Congress when she was questioned about failures to deport some foreigners viewed by Congress as possible communists (and, therefore, deportable):

    “The problems which the immigration laws present are serious, intricate and of the highest public importance. They have a peculiar significance to the future of our country, for it is incumbent upon those who administer the immigration laws to aim at two important goals: First, to preserve this country, its institutions and ideals, from foreign forces which present a clear and present danger to the continuance of our way of living; and second, to show those aliens who together with their families are soon to become our fellow citizens that American institutions operate without fear or favor, in a spirit of fair-play, and with a desire to do justice to the stranger within our gates, as well as to the native born.” (p. 281)

    I’d stress the themes of family reunification and workers’ rights and civil liberties a bit more explicitly than she did but, in all, it’s almost eerie how easily this statement could have been made 70 years later. We still wrestle with immigration policy as a core question related to American identity: who gets to be “one of us”? And what does that decision say about the nation we present ourselves to be?

    Unfortunately, it seems that the prejudices and misperceptions about immigrants and their contributions to this country have not changed much in the past seven decades, either:

    “Many refused to believe government statistics, and they circulated reports alleging that 1 million foreign sailors jumped ship in the United States each year, or that five hundred thousand Mexicans strolled across the border in the previous decade. In her annual report in 1935, Frances blasted these accounts as “fantastic exaggerations”” (p. 191). I can picture her today, decrying those horrible “undocumented immigrants are stealing Social Security” email forwards that periodically get sent to me for debunking.

    So, here we are, generations later, still fighting the same struggles for basic decency, due process, and equal opportunity for those who happened not to share our good fortune of being born in the United States of America.

    And, here we are, as far away from an upcoming congressional election as we’re going to get, staring at two years to get comprehensive immigration reform done in this Congress.

    We’ve got to make it happen–for the families torn apart, for the bodies strewn in the desert, for the workers (immigrant and not) whose wages and bargaining position are undercut by the existence of so many who have so few rights, for the security we all deserve in knowing who’s in this country and allowing law enforcement to focus on those who truly mean us harm, and for the still-salvageable American Dream, which has never been limited just for those who’ve always been here.

    And we’ve got to make it happen because, otherwise, we could still be making the same case, and combating the same myths, in 70 more years. Except that I’m not sure we can withstand it.

    Call your members of Congress today. Tell them (you have three–call all three!) that now is the time. Do it for those who long to call America home, for those who long have but are still afraid to come out of the shadows, for those who fear change but know that this isn’t what welcoming the stranger looks like. Do it for social work, which can’t afford to sit out this important struggle for social justice and the definition of what our nation will mean. And, do it for Frances.

    Hey! You! It’s Election Day!

    I’ll be working the polls this Election Day (6AM-8PM, for the whopping sum of $120!), so I’m writing this up the week before.

    I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to write about on Election Day, from a preview of the races most critical to social justice causes to a discussion about voter protection to ideas for addressing the critical shortage of poll workers in much of the country.

    But, then, what I really want to say is:

    via Flickr Creative Commons

    If you had a really great (or really bad) Election Day experience, please leave a comment. I’d also be interested in any predictions about the outcomes, and their impact.

    Happy Election Day!

    Happy Labor Day!

    1942 Labor Day Parade, Detroit

    So I know that the joke is always that we in the United States “celebrate” Memorial Day by grilling out, instead of honoring the dead, and, when Labor Day rolls around, instead of marching in parades and remembering the achievements and sacrifices of organized labor, we…grill out.

    But, on the Labor Day question, I think we’re too hard on ourselves. I mean, a big part of the accomplishments of the labor movement in this country, and around the world, is about recognizing that people are more than just laborers–we’re moms and dads and friends and sisters and brothers and community members and citizens…and we deserve jobs that recognize those other roles and give us time and space and respect, plus the living wage and the health and safety, with which to pursue the totality of our lives.

    So, today, celebrate as you will, be it with Labor Day parades, last-chance swimming parties, or your favorite grilling recipes. But, tomorrow, it’s back to work, not just on the job, but in the struggle, to advance to rights of all who work for a living and stand up for the movement that seeks to make dignity in the workplace a common part of everyone’s working life.

    Here are some great organizations that are carrying that work forward, every day of the year. They deserve your support, just as much as you deserve this day off. Please leave your own suggestions for ways to honor workers and build up labor in the comments, especially those of you not in the Kansas/Missouri area.

    Kansas City Worker Justice Project: I volunteer here to take intakes for workers who feel that they have been unfairly denied wages. Almost all of the stories will enrage you, but the organization has accomplished so much in terms of not only recouping lost wages for workers but also exposing abusive employers, and it’s a tremendously dedicated group of volunteers. Spending an evening at a clinic is also a good reminder that, especially in this economy, the horrible practices are being spread throughout the economy…an example of how no one is safe while anyone is threatened.

    National Employment Law Project: I love NELP. I love their research, I love their emphasis on the most vulnerable workers in our economy, I love their unwavering dedication to standing on the right side of issues, I love their accessibility and responsiveness and extremely high quality work. They deserve your money, if you have some to give, and you should sign up for their action alerts to lend your voice to theirs.

    Greater Kansas City Jobs with Justice: A friend of mine worked for years to start a Jobs with Justice chapter in Kansas City, and here’s why–it’s the organization with the best track record in bringing organized labor and community folks together to fight injustice. Check out their calendar of upcoming events, and try to go to one of their actions–they’re almost invariably fun.

    There, now you can go back to your relaxing day. The revolution starts tomorrow.

    Social Work Blog Awards 2010

    Drumroll, please…..

    announcing the…

    Active Social Work has created an award for the best social work blogs in a variety of categories, as described below:

  • Adoption/Fostering: this category should include blogs written under the topic of adoption or fostering services.
  • Children and Families: this category should include blogs written under the topic of Children and Families social services.
  • Diary/Personal: this category should include blogs written by social workers or social work students who maintain a journal about their activities.
  • Educational: this category should include blogs written for or by social workers with educational value.
  • Informative/Policies: this category should include blogs of informative nature about social work policies, news, etc.
  • Adult Social Services: this category should include blogs written under the topic of Adult Social Services and includes palliative social work .
  • Mental Health: this category should include blogs written under the topic of mental health services.

    The contest actually started at the beginning of the year, but, since nominations are requestd until September 1, 2010, I thought that was a bit too long for my attention span. Voting on the nominees will be between September 1-December 31, 2010, with the results announced on the 1st of January 2011.

    Many of my favorite social work blogs, including Fighting Monsters, Pittsburgh Perambulations, and Eyes Opened Wider have already been nominated.

    I found a few new ones through the site, too, because people are leaving their votes in the comments on this permanent page. I especially enjoy finding ways to connect with social workers in direct practice about the ways in which social policy impacts their practice and their clients and, since I interact online mostly with non-social workers, it’s good to find a community of folks with pretty similar values and approaches.

    Social workers, check it out. You might find some new blogs to follow.

    And, of course, if you can think of any really fabulous social work policy blogs to nominate (ahem…), well, you can do that, too! Happy voting!