Legislators praise Social Work students at the 12th Annual LEAD Day

Legislators praised hundreds of Social Work students at the 12th annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Day at the Indiana State House March 2nd for the work they are and will be doing to help others.

“I want to thank all of you for the journey you have chosen for your careers,”  Sen. Vi Simpson told the 400 to 500 students and social work professionals gathered at the state house. Social workers do remarkable things all over the state,” Simpson said. Whether working to assist the poor, people of color and those of varying education levels, “social workers are always there.”

Studens at state houseLead was started in 2000 as a way to promote social justice by facilitating the legislative process, creating community and legislative environments where social work values are accepted and implemented as well as educating participants about the importance of influencing state policy by participating in the electoral process and advocating for statewide action. The event is planned through the Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Legislators also had some advice for the students on how to influence policies that affect the clients they represent. State Rep. Charlie Brown, who noted his wife is a social worker, told students that when they have a difference of opinion with a bill being considered by the legislature, start by calling their representatives.  “Don’t feel like they are untouchable,” Brown told the students. “Don’t feel like you can’t have first-hand contact with the people you voted to represent your interest. Don’t be shy about it.”

Even if the legislator is not available, leave a message, he suggested. Senators and representatives alike pay attention to the hundreds of messages constituents leave on any given issue, Brown said.  “When those messages start piling up, representatives and senators pay attention,” he added. “That’s how you get your voice heard.”

“That vote you have is very, very powerful. Don’t let your power be taken away from you.”

Simpson told the students about how contentious the current budget battles are. Democrats see those in need losing out to corporations, she noted. But what is happening now, including disputes over workers’ rights, are a result of the last election, Simpson said.

If you think politics don’t matter, “let me tell you it matters very much,” Simpson told the students.

Press Release Contact:
Rob Schneider
IUPUI
robschn@iupui.edu
(317) 278-0303