Posted in Social Work

Standing Up When Everyone Else is Sitting Down

How does one stand for what’s right when they are standing alone? 

This question has been one that I used to spend some time thinking about, especially once I started doing field work. Looking through history there has been several great leaders and activist who initially started their movements by standing alone. Being a young 20 something working in the beautiful foothills and mountains of West Virginia there are ideas or world views that sadly do not align with my very own. To refer back to the initial question How does one stand for what’s right when they are standing alone? I think what this question is truly asking is How does one stand up for what’s right when they may lose everything? This isn’t meant to be dramatic or philosophical, however it is meant to cause one to really think, really examine their perspectives and motives.

As a social worker or any helping professional you may find yourself in a situation where the people around you are stuck in a rut of prejudices and cultural incompetencies, however it is important to stand up for what is right. How many of us have heard jokes perpetuating racial, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, stereotypes or stigmas that are harmful? With that same question in mind How many of us have expressed that those things are harmful?

This is just a little entry expressing some thoughts. I find it important to share with the people around me in my professional settings that their words have consequences. As social workers we work towards being cultural competent. We also work towards inclusion and dignity. Sometimes you have to be the one for change to happen. Don’t be afraid of people looking at you weird or telling you to “chill.” We are meant to be bold in our profession.

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