NASW’s 2010 national award recipients, announced earlier this year, include an inexhaustible advocate for the disabled, a messenger of nonviolence, a social worker who’s seemingly done it all and a public servant who gives voice to the voiceless.
Inspired by her “Movement for Change” initiative to make all of New Jersey’s public buildings and spaces compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, NASW named Jacqueline Jackson its 2010 Social Worker of the Year.
Jackson, who lives with multiple debilitating conditions and uses a wheelchair, “is passionate about making America fully accessible for all,” NASW New Jersey Chapter President V. DuWayne Battle said in nominating her for the award.
In 2009, Jackson led civic leaders from Plainfield, N.J., on a wheelchair tour so they could experience mobility from the perspective of a disabled person. She has since expanded the tours statewide, and eventually would like to conduct them at the national level.
“[Jackson’s] efforts have provided insight to the public on the importance of making their communities more accessible and accommodating for people with disabilities,” Battle said. “Her work has paved the way for communities to make changes that will promote inclusion and independence.”
Clementina Chery is on a different crusade. Chery’s son Louis David Brown was a bystander killed in a gang shootout, prompting her and her husband to found the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in 1994. In addition to providing grief support for families torn apart by violence, the institute works with schools to teach children to avoid violence. Chery is NASW’s 2010 Public Citizen of the Year.
“Faced with that loss in such a horrific way, many others would have retreated in grief and despair,” Sonia Pinnock, a social worker at the Martha Eliot Health Center of Children’s Hospital Boston, said in a recommendation letter. “This remarkable woman, instead, rose from her anguish and promptly set to work to make profound changes in her community and continue the legacy of her son’s beliefs.”
It was with an eye toward legacies that NASW bestowed Jean Tucker-Mann with its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. Tucker-Mann previously received the NASW Maryland Chapter’s Social Worker of the Year award.
Today, she is a semi-retired private practitioner and a clinical and management consultant in health, human services and education. For much of her clinical career, she provided personal and relationship counseling as well as counseling for caregivers of the chronically and terminally ill. Prior to her official retirement in 2005, Tucker-Mann served 10 years as director of the Department of Social Work for the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, where she instituted an innovative hospital-wide palliative care program.
During a decades-long career, she worked with the Child Welfare League of America and served in the administrations of Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer and Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes.
“It seems most appropriate for Jean to be publically acknowledged by her professional organization at this stage of her career,” said Richard Barth, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, in a recommendation letter. “She has served as an unassuming role model to the many social workers whose professional lives she has influenced by her leadership and she has been an advocate for clients in numerous settings during her years of practice.”
And finally, Texas State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is NASW’s 2010 Public Elected Official of the Year. Shapleigh represents El Paso. According to NASW Texas Chapter Executive Director Vicki Hansen, in his 15 years as senator, Shapleigh has worked to increase state funding equity, ensure taxation fairness, expand educational opportunities for minority and low-income students and develop community solutions for health, safety and environmental issues.
In recommending Shapleigh for the honor, social worker David Kruzich said: “He is an ardent supporter of issues important for social workers. ... El Paso is fortunate to have such a bright, articulate politician who shares the concerns and fights for the interests of the social work profession.”