Tuesday, October 23, 2007

 

Social Workers

Beep beep beep, the alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. Some memories flash back into my mind. The first is my mom waking me up around this time for a field trip to Philadelphia from Northern Virginia in the 5th grade...I drew a picture of Independence Hall as part of my report. The next memory is of getting up this early to cram for a midterm in my Globalization and Economic Justice course at Arizona State...which I totally aced. Now I am creating a new memory, I am venturing to Knoxville to speak to masters students there studying social work. Fortunately, I was picked up at my house by Jennifer Scruggs, Project Coordinator for the National Association of Social Workers Tennessee (NASW) and TCASK board member. "Hey, you need to stay up and talk to me and keep me awake," she asserts. I assure her that I can do this, or show her where we can get some coffee. After the purchase of a large cup and 15 minutes of driving East I am snoring in the passenger seat.

The first class is small, a little sleepy eyed, but interested in what we have to say. Jennifer talks about the value of being a member of NASW because it will allow you to dictate which issues NASW decides to take on. Jennifer also promotes Social Worker day on the Hill coming up this Spring. She expects around 800 participants, an impressive goal, one I'm sure she'll achieve. I spoke to students about the death penalty and issues within capital punishment that relate to social work. Such issues include mental illness, racism, and the social justice perspective overall. I was thorouhgly impressed with the College of Social Work overall and their mission to promote social justice and social change and to end discrimination, opression, poverty and other forms of social injustice. Students in both classes were engaged in what I had to say, but suprisingly, no one had any contrary arguments to make. Regadless, I believe that many of the students I spoke to will be attending our Knoxville TCASK meeting on November 5th, 7:00 p.m. at the Golden Roast coffee shop.

After a long day of organizing in Knoxville we departed home, and of course, I took the duty of driving. I was happy to return home to Nashville, but also anxious to return to Knoxville soon to continue building the foundation of a sustainable chapter in Eastern Tennessee.
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