Celebrating Social Work
UBUNTU: I Am Because We Are - Strengthening Social Solidarity & Global Connectedness
In Ontario, the first week of March marks the start of Social Work Week, initiated by the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW). This week highlights the role of the profession and recognizes the valuable contributions made by social workers each and every day. This year the theme for Social Work Week is “Social Workers: Leading Positive Change Across Systems and Settings”.
In addition, March 16th is World Social Work Day, hosted by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance our common message globally. This year, the 2021 Work Social Work Day highlights Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness. IFSW President Silvana Martinez describes Ubuntu as “a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all peoples involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future”. Ms. Martinez notes how this is particularly important “at a time when global politics has retreated into nationalism”.
Both campaigns focus on a key role for social work – that of social justice and change. This involves the dismantling of systems, including our own, to address issues of oppression, colonization and marginalization. This is not easy work. It is complex and requires a significant amount of personal and emotional investment as well as reflection. Complacency cannot be rewarded and the work always requires us to strive towards becoming better advocates, better workers and better individuals.
And social work recognizes that we cannot do this work alone or in isolation of other structures and systems that must also be urged towards change. As we stand in solidarity within our own system and recognize our place and role locally, nationally and globally we are well positioned to co-create a society where social justice becomes the core work of all peoples.
All staff at the agency have a role in contributing to this mission. Whether your work involves direct connection with families or sustaining supportive systems that drive this work, the work you do allows you to contribute to social justice for children and families. Take a moment this week to reflect on the work you have achieved and the possibilities of what we could achieve as we strive to fulfill the new vision and mission of FACS Waterloo.