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Thursday, March 1

From the Pen of the Executive Director: March 2018

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director

In 2018, we are commemorating a range of events from another tumultuous year in our history: 1968. One of these commemorations is the fiftieth anniversary of the Kerner Commission. In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson created the commission to investigate some of the root causes of the race riots that rocked the nation that year. There were 11 commissioners including then Illinois Governor Otto Kerner Jr., as well as Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to U.S. Senate. The last surviving member of the commission, U.S. Senator Fred Harris, will be at the University of Illinois at Chicago at the beginning of March to lead a panel regarding the Kerner Commission’s findings. In a recent interviewwith Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell, he noted, “African-American and Hispanic inequality is growing worse again…. Cities are re-segregating. Schools are re-segregating and condemning African-American and Hispanic kids to inferior schools and an almost impossibility to get out of poverty.”

Two months into 2018 we find ourselves in the midst of another tumultuous year, similar to 1968. Moving forward on the many issues that divide our nation will require the social work community to take to heart the theme of this year’s Social Work Month, to be leaders, advocates, and champions in order to make our society a better place to live.

We thank State Senator Andy Manar for sponsoring our 2018 Social Work Month proclamation, SR 1371.

There are two major ways in which all of us can be social work leaders, advocates, and champions.

  1. Vote in the March 20, 2018, Illinois primary. The NASW Illinois Chapter Political Action Committee (NASW-IL PAC) announced its endorsements. They can be found at www.naswilpac.org. Those interested in volunteering on one of the PAC’s endorsed races, go to http://naswilpac.org/volunteer/.
  2. Attend Social Work Advocacy on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Springfield. Please join over 1,000 Illinois social workers and social work students to advocate on behalf of the profession the clients we serve.

A couple of noteworthy items:

  • Congratulations to Monica Guilhot-Chartrand on being selected for the newly established Natalie M. Ross Scholarship for Professional Development in Aging. The award will be used to support Monica’s attendance at the annual American Society on Aging’s (ASA) Aging in America Conference. The award honors Natalie Ross, PhD, LCSW, who has always felt that the passion generated at ASA’s conferences is infectious, and that conference attendance is a highly effective way to encourage social workers to work with an aging population.
  • Congratulations to Leyda Garcia, the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board BSW Representative (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) who was selected for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Foster Youth Internship Program. Leyda will spend the summer in Washington, DC, working on behalf of children and youth involved in the child welfare system who have been or are in need of adoption and/or foster care services.
  • The chapter is convening a Social Work Workforce development summit that will take place on Friday, April 20, 2018, at the NASW-Illinois Chapter office in Chicago. The summit will be bringing together statewide employers and leadership from the states’ social work schools. If you are interested in participating, please contact me.
  • Please join us on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, for the NASW-Illinois Chapter’s inaugural School Social Worker Conference taking place at the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Foundation. Complete information can be found here: http://bit.ly/naswilssw

I look forward to seeing many of you during Social Work Month! Enjoy the month!


Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, has served as executive director of the 7,000 member Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since October 1999. He has over twenty-five years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service, and international political issues. Joel is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship Leadership Program and a current adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work as well as Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

Posted on 03/01/18 at 08:00 AM

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