More than 140 social workers from across the state gathered this month at the Oklahoma Capitol for the National Association of Social Workers, Oklahoma Chapter (NASW-OK) Legislative Day.
Social work students and faculty from Northwestern Oklahoma State University were in attendance to learn about legislative issues impacting the social work profession and the populations they serve. Legislative Day provides an opportunity for social work students and practitioners to engage in macro-level practice and learn effective ways to advocate on the behalf of others. This day assists the students in learning to analyze and formulate policies that advance social well-being and develop ways for effective policy action.
“Legislative Day provides the opportunity for participation in public policy issues and social justice advocacy, both key components of social work education and practice” said Dr. Kylene Rehder, chair of the department of social work.
Social work students from Enid that were in attendance were Dlondra Nolan, junior; Sierra Miller, sophomore; Annie Moss, sophomore; Marcie Sierra, sophomore; Codi Harding, senior; along with Chasity McFadden, Waukomis junior; and Shelby Lamberth, Sharon senior.
The day started with a tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol and a welcome message from NASW-OK Board President Connie Schlittler, followed by Kara Joy Perry-McKee, an outreach specialist from the Oklahoma Policy Institute who presented on effectively approaching legislators. A legislative panel comprised of Rep. Scott Inman, Rep. Lee Denny, and Sen. A.J. Griffin, was moderated by Linda Edmonson. The day concluded with opportunities to engage with legislators and closing remarks by the executive director of NASW-OK, Mary Jo Kinzie.
“The NASW-OK Legislative Day was a fantastic experience,” said Nolan, a social work major. “I was able to meet with other social work majors in Oklahoma, as well as state legislators. Wandering the beautiful halls of the capitol and engaging with some of our state leaders face-to-face has encouraged me to explore politics more and to get involved.”
For more information about Northwestern’s social work programs contact Rehder at (580) 327-8135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.