Room at the Table 2016: VOTE for Participatory Justice
Working Together for the Promise of Democracy
Date & Time:
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.
- Jessica Toft PowerPoint slides: Participatory Justice
- Jessica Toft References for Participatory Democracy
- Katharine Hill PowerPoint slides: Voting is Social Work
- Katharine Hill References for Voting is Social Work
- Voting is Social Work: http://votingissocialwork.org
- Fact Sheets & Reports: http://votingissocialwork.org/resource-library/
- Minnesota Secretary of State — elections and voting information: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/VoterStatus.aspx
- Justice 4 All website (Justin’s project): http://www.takeactionminnesota.org/work/criminal-justice-reform/
- Video shared by Justin Terrell: JayZ YouTube video – War on Drugs / mass incarceration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNlZnlGV0Xw
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.