College of Health

School of Social Work

Room at the Table 2016: VOTE for Participatory Justice

Room at the Table 2016: VOTE for Participatory Justice

Working Together for the Promise of Democracy

Date & Time:

Friday, October 14, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM




University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN.  McNeely Hall, MCH100.

VOTE for Participatory Justice: Working Together for the Promise of Democracy

On October 14, our community participated in its annual Room at the Table event, this year reflecting on the power of our vote to influence and shape the political, economic, and social future of our nation, state, and local community.

Our social justice principles invite all community members to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of our society. But whose voices are actually heard? How can individuals and non-profits effectively support increased political participation so that all voices are heard and social change can happen? Is civic participation both a right and a responsibility?

We explored two critical aspects of social justice related to civic participation: (1) increasing voter access for disenfranchised people and (2) increasing engagement by those who currently have the power to vote.

Dr. Jessica Toft, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, and President, NASW-MN, provided a framework of Participatory Justice. Dr. Katharine Hill, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, and a national thought-leader in Voting is Social Work, built a compelling argument that supporting nonpartisan voter registration should be a part of every social worker’s professional practice. Justin Terrell, the Justice 4 All (J4A) Program Manager at TakeAction Minnesota, shared his work on removing barriers to employment and democracy for families impacted by the justice system, including voting rights restoration.


Social Work for Social Justice Principle #9: Participation

All people have a right to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of society. Social justice and human dignity require that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community. It is the ultimate injustice for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly. Social workers strive to ensure access to equal opportunity and meaningful participation for all. Social workers empower individuals and groups to influence social policies and institutions and promote social justice. Social workers advocate for change to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources and opportunities required to meet basic needs and develop fully.


All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.