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The national campaign, #VotingisSocialWork, has been promoted by the George Mason University student organization Masters of Social Work Student Association (MSWSA) around social media and across campus encouraging students to register if they haven’t in order to vote in the November 2022 elections.
Emily Ihara, a professor and chair of the Department of Social Work within Mason's College of Health and Human Services, said the student group’s goals include sharing tools to raise awareness about registration and voting with both the public at large and social workers in particular.
“Social work is part of public health and public health is part of social work. They both can work together to solve the world's problems in a way that creates a healthier community worldwide,” said Katreena Blazewicz, MSWSA treasurer.
The group’s 34 members have promoted voting and answered questions about registration, translation, and transportation, sharing voter resources such as QR codes.
“We were inspired by a couple of factors: the [Oct. 8] Women’s March was coming and we had just visited the Lucy Burns Museum, where the women suffragettes for were imprisoned for protesting for women’s rights to vote,” said Laura Lento, secretary of the MSWSA.
“The Women’s March highlighted so many issues, including international issues,” Blazewicz said.
November 8 is election day. In Virginia, the in-person early voting registration deadline is Nov. 5. All absentee ballots must be turned in by Nov. 8, by 7 p.m. if submitted in-person.
“We need to not only vote, but get more social workers in government and willing to help work on policies,” said Blazewicz. “What we deal with every day as social workers is incredibly impacted by the laws and can make our jobs harder.”
Social work takes on macro societal issues and ultimately aims to defend the rights of their clients and their communities, group members said.
“We are promoting social justice and making sure that we're protecting those who are marginalized. That’s the whole purpose of social work,” said Anna Christopher.
"What is not possible now, with advocacy, hopefully we can make possible,” said Lento.