Political Activism: A Civic and Ethical Responsibility

Jul 6, 2011

The recent anniversary of our country’s independence reminds us that as Americans we have certain duties that we owe to our country.  Most particularly, citizens have a responsibility to be involved in the political process through voting and can participate in various other forms of activism, such as campaigning, contacting Members of Congress, and joining political organizations.

Social workers have an additional professional responsibility to engage in political activism that stems from the NASW Code of Ethics, which calls for social workers to advocate and challenge social injustice.  This requires social workers to not only engage in civic political activities, like voting, but also in advocating for marginalized persons and other similar actions.

Social workers in the United States have a dual responsibility to engage in political activities, and the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative (SWRI) provides several opportunities for social workers to advocate for their profession and their clients, including the Social Work Reinvestment Act and the Congressional Social Work Caucus.  The Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (HR 1106/S. 584) is designed to address challenges in the social work workforce, including low pay, high educational debt, and low retention rates, to ensure that millions across the nation continue to receive competent care.  The Congressional Social Work Caucus (CSWC) consists of social worker Members of Congress and those who support the social work profession and society’s social safety net and creates a platform on Capitol Hill to represent the interests of social workers throughout the United States.

To fulfill your ethical duties as a professional social worker, consider contacting your Representative and Senators today and encourage them to join the CSWC or to co-sponsor the Social Work Reinvestment Act.