Social Work Advocacy Day has been a staple of the School of Social Work for nearly 10 years. It allows professionals and students to utilize the collective voices of social workers and those they serve in order to advocate for social work priority policies.
Historically, this event is spearheaded by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Work. This year it was also co-hosted with the National Association of Social Workers in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Schools of Social Work and held on February 17, 2021 virtually.
This year Social Work Advocacy Day focused on assisting with food insecurity on AB138: Revises Provisions Relating to Public Assistance, advocated for BDR 55-116: Student Loan Bill of Rights, and supported diversifying and raising revenue to continue to provide programming to the populations social workers serve.
Prior to the day of the event, the School hosted three educational sessions, including Nevada legislature and social work advocacy; Experts on Legislation; and Lobbying, Advocacy & Practice. These sessions were recorded and posted to YouTube. During the day of the event, there was a keynote from Assemblyperson Teresa Benitez-Thompson, a Social Worker and Majority Floor Whip. The group discussed the priorities and completed a group practice session in the morning. Afternoon attendees were invited to attend Senate floor sessions and committee hearings via the Legislative YouTube Channel. In between these meetings participants met with 36 different members of the legislature to advocate for the SWAD initiatives.
“It is in the Social Work Competencies and Values to engage in social justice issues, this means we engage in policy practice, at all levels of work,” said Amanda Cuevas, Lecturer for the School of Social Work and chair of the Social Work Advocacy Day Planning Committee.
“Nevada is in a unique position to get hands-on experience with our legislature due to the fact we have a citizen legislature."
"This event provides our students the valuable lesson of advocating for policies, utilizing community organizing, and engaging in social and economic justice. Throughout the history of this event, our students have been able to have a meaningful impact on legislation that affected our target population.”