Social Work and Politics Go Hand in Hand

Editor's Note

By Laetitia Clayton

Laetitia Clayton

When the U.S Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision last summer, it not only struck down the constitutional right of individuals to choose to have an abortion — it also set a precedent that many speculated was just the beginning of the conservative-leading court taking away rights. Three SCOTUS rulings this past summer seem to indicate this is true.

In June, the court ruled against affirmative action in college admissions, struck down the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief plan, and decided that a Colorado web designer could discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community.

This issue’s cover story describes the effects of these SCOTUS rulings; explains the impact on social workers and those they serve; and suggests actions to take. One response is to get involved. This doesn’t mean all social workers have to be lobbyists or activists, but they should know about federal, state and local legislation important to individuals, families and communities — as well as legislation that affects social workers and the profession as a whole.

“We have an ethical mandate to be politically and community active,” says Duane Breijak, LMSW-Macro, the executive director of NASW’s Michigan Chapter. “That’s what makes social work different from many of the other health fields. We have to be engaged and know what’s going on politically, because access to funding is usually tied to the legislative landscape.”

Read "A Step Backward Social Workers Weigh Impact of US Supreme Court Rulings" and learn other ways to get involved.

Our second feature story examines the use of psychedelics in mental health treatment, a form of therapy that is becoming more widely accepted and already legal in some states. Although psychedelic-assisted therapy can be used to assist some individuals struggling with their mental health, “it is not a panacea,” says Mary Cosimano, LMSW, psychedelic session facilitator at Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research. 

Also in this issue, we take a look at the legacy of our past president Mit Joyner, who passed away in July 2023. We also offer practice updates; national and chapter board member profiles; introduce you to the newest NASW Social Work Pioneers® inductees; talk with our Hawaii chapter about the response to the Maui wildfires; and more.

In other news, NASW celebrates its 68th anniversary this October, and November marks the 68th year for our official member publications: the NASW News, from 1955 to 2018; and this magazine since then. On that note, we also want to inform you that this is the last issue of social work advocates in 2023, as the magazine begins a quarterly publication schedule in 2024.

While we will publish two fewer issues a year going forward, we’re adding more pages to each issue to allow for more original content, and giving the magazine a slightly fresher look. We’re excited for you to see your updated member publication in January. In the meantime, you can write to us at

Until next year,


cover of October / November 2023 issue

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