Anecdotally, social media, the news and personal experiences tell us that we are among many going through real grief as they cope with this new reality. For days after the election people could not believe this had happened. As the news seemingly gets worse each day it is easy to feel stuck and immobilized, unable to figure out what to do. Social workers are not a group of people who will acquiesce. But how do we move forward in a way that both upholds our commitment to social justice and ensures that we engage in the self-care that will sustain us over the next 4 years? We can only do that if we come together to do the work that needs to be done now to build towards a future that will put this nightmare behind us.
There are many reasons why we are in this position now. The analysis will go on for a long time. We can blame the media, voter suppression, an ineffective campaign, or a myriad of other potential issues. One thing is for sure in Michigan, as in many other states, the gerrymandering that Republicans have done over the years has made it almost impossible for Democrats to get majorities in both State and National congressional districts. This will not change unless there is a either a Democratic majority or a non-partisan commission in place in 2020 when redistricting occurs again. It is critical for us to be building in Michigan to take back the Governorship and the majority in 2018 for the sake of our State now as well as to build towards 2020. We cannot continue to have policies that only come from one side of the political spectrum. That isn’t good for anybody. This is work that needs to start NOW!
As a social work community we need to come together to ensure that our values are shaping the opposition, as we build towards 2018. NASW PACE is our vehicle for supporting and funding campaigns and ballot initiatives (such as the one to stop gerrymandering that is currently being considered) that reflect our values and principles. We need member support for our voice to be heard. We also need you to become active in helping with this campaign over the next few years. This is your chance to help to take care of yourself and your colleagues while building a movement of social workers whose voice will be heard in the next election. WE need to move forward together to shape an agenda where women’s rights, immigrant rights and black lives matter!
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-Marjorie Ziefert, MPACE Committee Member