Anjanette Young knows the importance of having a say in policies and legislation. As the victim of a wrongful 2019 Chicago police raid into her apartment, she says her eyes were opened to the need for social workers to be involved and active.
When she was getting ready for bed, police bashed down her door, drew their guns, and screamed, “Hands up!” as they announced they were executing a search warrant for a man with a firearm. No one else was in the apartment, and Young had lived alone there for years. Nonetheless, police officers left her handcuffed for 40 minutes.
“After that incident, it really changed my perspective on how I do social work overall,” says Young, a member-at-large for the NASW Illinois Chapter. “I became super passionate about policy work and advocacy.”
In addition, the Illinois Chapter got involved in her fight to keep what happened to her from happening to others.
“The chapter was super supportive,” Young says, which helped guide her decision to serve on the chapter board.
As a result of the police incident, policies related to the way search warrants are conducted were changed, and Young said an independent investigation resulted in recommendations to discipline 12 officers and one supervising sergeant in the wrongful raid. The sergeant was eventually fired, she said.
“It has taught me the need for social workers to be involved in policy,” says Young, who manages the crisis line department for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Chicago. She also runs her own consulting firm called Café Social Work, which focuses on mentoring young people, coaching, and helping them with exams. When asked why it is essential that members volunteer for their professional association, Young says, “The association is a pivotal point to support not only individuals and families we serve, but to also support the social workers themselves.”