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Social workers pledge support for Occupy movement

The National Association of Social Workers founded Oct. 1, 1955, is the largest and most recognized membership organization of professional social workers in the world.

The NASW represents more than 145,000 members from 56 chapters in the United States and abroad.

The NASW Oregon Chapter is an organization that is committed to the cause of social justice, and we support the efforts and values of the Occupy movement. These protests have helped bring attention to the growing divide between the advantages of the few who are wealthy and the struggles of the many who are in poverty, or at its brink.

Though their individual grievances vary, these protesters are united under the banner 'We are the 99 percent,'and by the governing ideal that peaceful protest and assembly are basic human rights.

As Social Workers, we understand that a just society must provide for the needs and well-being of all of its members, not just the privileged and affluent. We understand the impact of economic systems and institutions and how, when implemented unfairly, they can engender physical, emotional and social problems. Our economy has led to widespread hardship and privation, where we are witnessing declining wages, rising debt, and the risk of deep and persistent poverty for many. Social Workers know that joblessness and economic insecurity contribute to the incidence of mental illness, family violence, suicide, substance abuse, crime, and diminished capacity for healthy family and community functioning. It is this knowledge and experience that gives the social work profession a special responsibility to advocate for income, employment, and social support policies that promote the economic justice and social well-being of all members of society.

The NASW Oregon Chapter Board of Directors fully supports the Occupy movement and encourages social workers, social work students, and our allies to join in this support as they see fit. We believe this is an important, significant movement that promotes both social and economic justice - fundamental elements of the mission of Social Work.

-NASW Oregon Chapter, Board of Directors