Dear NASW Member,
The National Association of Social Workers – Florida Chapter (NASW-FL) offers its heartfelt condolences to the students, staff and families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We share your loss and grief at the senseless tragedy.
The outpouring of community support has been outstanding in providing support to the students, faculty, staff and families. The Broward County Public Schools are providing a BCPS Family Counselor from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, February 16, call 754-321-HELP or 754-321-4357. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Henderson Mental Health Services is providing grief counselors for students on site at the following locations: Pine Trails Park Recreation Center and Amphitheater, Coral Springs Gymnasium, Coral Springs Center for the Arts. For Marjory Stoneman Douglas staff members, grief counselors are available at Parkland Library.
The Attorney General Office of Victim Services is on the scene helping victims and their families with counseling services and funeral, burial and medical expenses. The NSU Family Therapy Clinic/Brief Therapy Institute is coordinating therapists to assist at sponsored crisis counseling locations. Please call 954-262-3030 to volunteer.
The needs of the community will be continuing over the coming weeks and months. Here are some action items that we can all do to be a part of the healing and change:
Don’t let hate win: As Social Workers we are uniquely positioned to help individuals channel their pain and fear into meaningful actions. As much as it is tempting to let anger take over, don’t let hate win. Sharing hateful comments and content that promotes more violence is not helpful. Our society has enough violence, let’s be part of sharing content and comments of hope, unity, help and change.
Speak up: Advocacy is key to creating change. In a world where we have more connection to a screen than to our neighbors it’s common to watch and not speak up. Speak up anyway. If you see something, say something.
Join our CALL TO ACTION! Our state and country have the expertise and resources to develop a comprehensive response to end gun violence. Please contact your state representatives and senators. Also contact your congress persons and both senators. Please ask them to establish a state and/or a federal commission to address gun violence in Florida and America. Attached is a brief prepared by NASW: This Social Justice Brief “Gun Violence in American Culture” offers solutions to help lessen gun violence
Build connections: Get to know your neighbors, the more connected people are the harder it is for violence to win. See past differences and find common grounds to build a community. We are not independent, we are interdependent.
Take care of yourself and those you love: monitor how much information you’re taking in, hug those you love, nourish your mind, body and soul. And help those who are struggling to do the same.
As needs continue to arise and information is provided we will continue to provide resources and information to members of NASW Florida. Together we can stand strong, advocate for change, work towards healing and offer support.
Thank You,Jim Akin, ACSW NASW-FL Executive Director