At 6 a.m. on March 2, 2016, I met 13 of our Fordham GSS MSW students at Lincoln Center and boarded a bus to Albany for Legislative Education Action Day (LEAD). MSW students from Wurzwieler School of Social Work at Yeshiva and Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter joined us on the bus. One of our Fordham Westchester students drove to meet us there. Hundreds of students from 18 schools of social work across the state convened in Albany.
LEAD was organized by the National Association of Social Workers – New York State Chapter, and supported by the NYS Association of Deans of Schools of Social Work and the NYS Social Work Education Association. The day began with welcomes from the Executive Director of NASW-NYS, the presidents of NASW national and NYS, and others.
There were two issues of focus for our lobbying efforts for the day – Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility and Social Work Loan Forgiveness. We received information about the issues prior to the event, and the Director of Policy at NASW-NYS gave us an overview of legislative advocacy and talking points on the issues.
Because we preregistered for LEAD, the organizers knew our state legislators and upon arrival we were provided with appointment times to meet with our senators and assembly persons. Most of us were able to meet with our representatives or their staffers. We were pleased that our causes were well received.
It was a wonderful day. One of our students wrote in the evaluation, “Although we are often told how important it is to be involved in advocacy as social workers, today the process became real and I am inspired to work harder to be involved in political advocacy work.”
Additional resources can be found at:
Susan Bair Egan, MSW, PhD Associate Dean Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service 113 West 60th Street New York, NY 10023 firstname.lastname@example.org