Hello from afar! We hope you are safe and well, adjusting to the new world of social distancing, or as I’m calling it: distant socializing. In that spirit, we want to hear and see how your days are unfolding and being shaped in and by this global occurrence. This blog will have an ongoing project, the Quarantine Chronicles, where we will archive photos and short reflections or poems about your experience. We want to see where you’re having remote classes, or taking your daily outside time, hear about who you’re living with and how your relationships are affected and how you’re consuming media that makes your happy. Or not. We want to hear about small wins, see any stress baking/cooking, and of course keep a list of book/podcast/binge recommendations. You can message us on any of the social medias, or email us at email@example.com
We are sending all manner of positive vibes, and want to say how proud we are of the students and faculty that are continuing to learn and grow as a community, even while adjusting to new systems and routines. New normals. Be well, stay safe, and be kind.
(Coming at you straight from Prof Marnie Brady. Enjoy!)
Special guests Athena Viscusi, LICSW, and Maria Dohers of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders gave students a view into global social work practice. The class discussed social work perspectives involving cultural humility, self-care, cross-NGO partnerships, and humanitarian intervention within the context of militarism, climate change, and refugee dislocation. Athena Viscusi, a clinical social worker with MSF, provides support to field workers before, after, and during deployment to crisis zones abroad. She shared about her own fieldwork as a psychosocial mental health worker with MSF in Liberia, Palestine, Central African Republic, Myanamar, and Haiti, among other countries. During the height of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Athena supported a program for survivors, immune to the disease, to act as mental health counselors to encourage and support those who were still afflicted. She was joined at MMC by a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, Marie Dohrs, who shared about her previous work supporting immigrants and refugees here and abroad. Marie explained the steps she took in her process of applying to graduate school.
MMC students & Prof. Brady express their deep appreciation for the important and urgent work of MSF in the world, and for the time the guests spent with us discussing their own professional career paths and the challenges in global social work.
(Yay guest speakers! Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, spread kindness everywhere you go and be brave.)
It’s your faithful narrator here, saying I’m gonna get the heck out of the way and let you enjoy this fantastical post submitted by our newest faculty member here in #humsoc and #PHR, Marnie Brady. As you’ll soon know, she’s an all star. Get on the #engagingwiththepastpresently train and enjoy this delightful romp!)
This week, Polly Holladay (aka PHR Assistant Prof. Marnie Brady) posed this question while hosting an exuberant salon in her East Village café (aka Introduction to Social Work) involving some of the most eccentric, reform-minded, if not revolutionary, path-blazers of social welfare during the so-called Progressive Era: was the Progressive Era actually progressive?
W.E.B. Dubois made an appearance, alongside Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, Jane Addams, and Ida B. Wells, among other notables (aka student presenters). Margaret Sanger donned her ubiquitous pearls and, despite the threat of exile, forcefully argued for women’s right to birth control. Some café visitors were not entirely convinced that her reproductive choice agenda was truly for the liberation and autonomy of the poor. Everyone, however, fell silent when Ms. Barnett Wells described the white terror of lynching, including her investigative journalism into the murder of three Black shopkeepers in Memphis. When café patrons appeared, to Polly’s astonishment, from the 21st century they asked questions of lessons and strategy. For example, how would this group of intellectuals and social welfare change agents address the problem of mass incarceration in 2019? Florence Kelley and Jane Addams reminded everyone of their work at Hull House in Chicago to create a court system for juvenile reform. Perhaps more than anyone else, however, Ida B. Wells spoke to the need for radical change led by strategies of Black women to address the relationship of race and criminalization from long before the early 20th century and into the 21st.
Students taking on the voice and perspectives of influential social welfare figures in this class will participate in two additional salons, one to be held in 1962 at the headquarters of Mobilization for Youth during the Harlem rent strikes, and another in 2019 at Make the Road New York in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
(How cool was that?! Thanks for reading, and remember to be nice to yourself today)