NASW-NM members, and students from various New Mexico universities including 15 students from ENMU learned about legislative issues impacting the social work profession. The aim of SLAD is to educate students about the legislative process and to meet and discuss important issues with their legislators.
This year SLAD focused on five issues: The death penalty and three strikes, funding for education and community programming, funding for child welfare and family programming, funding for higher education, and ensuring a safe community and state for us all.
SLAD provides an opportunity for social work students and practitioners to engage in macro-level practice and learn effective ways to advocate. Students attended a training day beginning with a welcome from the NASW-NM Executive Director, Elisa Kawam.
Speakers included Karen Whitlock, NASW-NM Lobbyist on Introduction to Social Work Lobbying, followed by training on Social Work Code of Ethics, Organizing with Social Justice at the Center, Effective Advocacy Strategies and The Power of Social Work and Social Advocacy.
The following day students had the opportunity to travel to Santa Fe to tour the capital. Showing professional unity students were able to speak with senators and representatives. SLAD is grounded in a strong social work tradition of advocacy for change. Two Bills being heard that day which impacted the profession were HB75, Limit School Use of Restraint and Seclusion and HB171, End of Life Options Act.
SLAD is important to social work students to advance the interests of the social work profession and issues of social and economic justice in New Mexico. Additionally, students expanded their cultural awareness by observing American Indian Day at the Roundhouse.