As I ponder the opportunity to march down the aisle to join the ranks of over 650,000 social workers across the nation, I can’t help but find myself thinking about the responsibility that comes with that title. I think about the commitment to social justice that our profession has held near and dear in this country since the days of Jane Addams in the late 1800’s. I think about the magnificent impact that all of us upholding this commitment could have in the current political climate.
As social workers, who bear witness to struggle, social injustice, and intolerable pain, we will certainly be called upon to serve as a candle of hope, for our children and the many, many people that we aspire to serve. While the election results represent what a large portion of our country believes is the path to “safety” and “economic stability”, the other half of our great country sought a different road – to an equitable and inclusive society where opportunity, safety and freedom would be shared by all of its people, regardless of our background, beliefs, or status.
In America, democracy is a government of, by, and for all its people. I look forward to each of us as aspiring social workers to remember that it our duty to our fellow man/woman to pledge to combat racism, homophobia, xenophobia and sexism no matter where it shows up, including in the form of a new administration that governs our nation.
As I end this post, I would like to leave you with a quote from a great champion of justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1965, in a speech at Dinkier Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King said, “History will have to record the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the vitriolic words and other violent actions of the bad people but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only the words and acts of the children of darkness but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light.”
Additionally, Dr. King has been attributed to saying, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Written by Terran Fontenot