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News Items – October 7, 2015

clintontoday[Video] Hillary Clinton on income disparity, college debt
The Today Show
At a “pancakes and politics” town hall in Hollis, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton fields questions from voters about income disparity in America, calling for a higher minimum wage and more clean energy jobs to raise income levels. She also says that the popularity of her opponent Bernie Sanders is good for the Democratic Party. On the issue of college debt, she touts her “new college compact” that would feature “no-debt tuition” and other benefits for students of appropriate income levels. At 7:45 she says she wants to forgive loans for those who go into public service, such as social work, teaching, firefighting, etc.

Erin Bernau is a member:
[Video] Mothers with infants find postpartum support through group therapy (Seattle, WA)
Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth according to the CDC. More than 600,000 women will face postpartum depression every year and that’s exactly why some local moms are finding comfort in group support, through a program called Listening Mothers. Erin Bernau is a clinical social worker and a group facilitator for Listening Mothers, an organization dedicated to helping moms during postpartum. The focus is taking care of yourself, so you can take care of your family. “I think, for me, the most touching groups are when people are really willing to be open and to share and be vulnerable,” she said. “Find some self-kindness, some self-compassion.”

Chad Dion Lassiter is a member:
The Influx of Latino Students at Historically Black Colleges
The Atlantic
But not everyone has been quick to embrace the changes at some of these HBCUs. Chad Dion Lassiter, an alumnus of Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Philadelphia, says that sometimes there is pushback from alumni who fear that the heritage of the institution may be eroded by the influx of Latino students. “During homecoming, I may get an alum saying, ‘So why does this Hispanic guy or girl want to go here?’” says Lassiter, a social worker who also teaches at West Chester University and the University of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think they understand that it is a similar population. It is xenophobia. They think something is going to get lost. One in particular said, ‘Why don’t they go to their own universities?’ I said, ‘That right there is irrational hatred. Why not open our doors to a group that has been similarly marginalized and oppressed?’”

Christie Abdul is a member:
Yazidi-American Activist Seeks Help for Refugees
Voice of America
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA— The plight of the Yazidis, a religious-ethnic minority in Iraq, drew world attention last year when Islamic State fighters drove thousands of them to a mountain refuge in Sinjar. Far away, in the Midwestern city of Lincoln, Nebraska, the largest community of Yazidis in North America took action, led in great part by social worker Laila Khoudeida, who continues to seek help for her threatened people. The Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers this month honored Khoudeida, 26, as “Citizen of the Year” for her work advocating on behalf of people on the other side of the world. Her close friend and fellow social worker Christie Abdul is impressed with her dedication to the Yazidi cause. “She is just very inspiring in how she is so passionate about what is happening there,” Abdul said.

Working It: The Activist Art Magazine Fueling Labor Rights for Strippers and Other Sex Workers
The Huffington Post
[Matilda] Bickers and [Amy] Pitts’ case helped bring the Oregon branch of the National Association of Social Workers’ attention to labor conditions for dancers. The Oregon NASW contracted PAC-West, a lobbying firm that successfully passed state legislation which created funding for an anonymous dancer hotline and required clubs to place worker rights posters in dressing rooms. Despite the victory, the process behind it wasn’t without issues: “Apparently [the lobbyists] didn’t want to talk to strippers. One of the social workers forced the lobbyists to meet with the dancers. It was kind of like a shit-show.” Bickers says. “The lobbyists were so interested in our stories about getting groped or getting abused and how we have no rights…But they didn’t actually do any research into what our status is…until much later.” One of the side effects of this attitude was confusion and at times panic in the Portland dancer scene, something which Bickers, the NASW, and the Oregon BOLI have since worked together to address.

Want to fix Minnesota’s mental health worker shortage? Start with better pay
“In our surveys, we learned that filling mental health social work positions has been difficult,” said Mary Rosenthal, director of work-force development at HealthForce Minnesota, a collaboration Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institutions with industry partners. “Right now, on average throughout Minnesota it can it can take more than three months to fill a licensed independent clinical social work position.” Why is it so hard to find social workers? The reasons vary, but many who follow state employment trends believe that it has to do with several key factors, including lower pay for the industry’s highly educated workers, uneven insurance reimbursement rates, and societal perceptions about whether mental illness is a valid medical condition like heart disease or cancer.

Toby Hur is a member:
UCLA faculty call LA homelessness plan a start, not permanent solution
Daily Bruin
Toby Hur, a UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs faculty member who studies homelessness,  said the voucher system does not help chronically homeless people who are suffering from substance abuse, mental illness or domestic violence. He said he thinks these individuals need to be in a facility that offers access to counselors and medical attention. Hur said he thinks the proposed $100 million pales in comparison to what other cities have paid. For example, New York City has spent more than $40 billion on housing for homeless individuals.

Don Farris is a member:
Don Farris: Now that I am old
Fresno Bee
Time and gravity, those unavoidable robber barons for which there is no defense, have been lying in wait for years and have caught up with me. I have lost much about myself that was valuable and important to me.

Cultural Competency is a necessary skill and policy for our schools
The Lowell Sun
Simply having a teacher or two or an administrator or two of color does not make a culturally competent school. Cultural competence “refers to the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each” (National Association of Social Workers, Standards for Cultural Competence).

Erick Nunez is a member:
Social worker Erick Nunez believes HIV/AIDS awareness goes beyond stereotypes
Erick Nunez is a Bronx-based social worker who works with Brightpoint Health in New York City. Nunez was inspired to become a social worker after he had to watch a family member suffer from HIV at a young age, and now with his work with both Brightpoint and the YGBLI, he’s doing his part to ensure others in his community have access and awareness to fight this epidemic. “I’m working with individuals who are HIV positive or have an AIDS diagnosis or are dealing with some kind of substance abuse or mental illness,” says Nunez. “So within my work, not only are we addressing HIV, we are addressing other intersectionalities of HIV. How HIV and substance abuse and how HIV and mental health correlate to each other, and the intersectionalities that are around that, as well, such as homelessness, situational sex and substance abuse.”

Clark Atlanta’s school of social work celebrates 95th anniversary
Clark Atlanta University’s Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work will celebrate its 95th anniversary on Oct. 3 with a gala and symposium featuring noted industry leaders. The social work’s school’s origins date back to 1920, when it was founded as the Atlanta School of Social Work. The school joined with Atlanta University in 1947, and began offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level degrees when the consolidated Clark Atlanta University formed in 1988. The school was renamed to honor civil rights leader Whitney Young in 2000.

Erica Schmittdiel is a member:
Domestic Violence: “Equal Opportunity Destroyer” in Michigan
Public News Service
Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October is being used to highlight misconceptions about domestic violence. As a social worker with the National Association of Social Workers in Michigan, Erica Schmittdiel has seen the face of domestic violence – and she says it never looks the same twice.  According to Schmittdiel, domsetic violence happens regardless of gender, age, race or economic and educational background. “Domestic violence is an equal opportunity destroyer, and there are no boundaries,” she says. “Whether you have a PhD or a GED, you can be the victim or you can be a perpetrator.”

Karen Mason Riss is a member:
In Today’s ‘Age of Loneliness’, This is Why Work Matters
Money & Career Cheatsheet
Licensed clinical social worker Karen Mason Riss told Forbes that one of the ways you can combat loneliness is to fill a hole in someone else’s life. “When you get past yourself and get connected to someone else, you stop thinking about you and how you feel and start thinking about someone else’s hole. Then you aren’t lonely anymore,” she said.

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