Governor Palin and others have been demeaning community organizers for a while now. As a Social Worker I am offended by this classless political tactic. I must admit, I doubt this is Governor Palin’s true belief. She is so new to the race, that almost anything she says early on is likely the thoughts of Karl Rove and his Republican henchmen. Here is a statement by the National Association of Social Workers.
The social work profession takes great pride in its community organizing roots and lauds the contributions of social workers and other professionals who commit their careers to helping residents of different communities organize their resources and take social action to improve life for themselves and their families. Small town reformers and urban community organizers have much in common.
The concepts of community organizing, community building and community development undergird the premise of American democracy. As a result of these efforts, institutions and officials often deliver more effective economic growth strategies, as well as mental health, health, and family services for people of all ages.
Community organizing is also the foundation of most successful political campaigns. Meeting fellow Americans in their communities and working with them to find solutions to problems that limit their potential is valuable and necessary work—with significant responsibilities.
The profession of social work was founded on the legacy of outstanding women leaders such as Nobel Laureate Jane Addams, who practiced community organizing in the Settlement Houses she created for the poor and working class immigrants of Chicago. The profession also counts Civil Rights icons such as Dr. Dorothy I. Height among its luminaries. It is fitting that both women are considered two of the most influential people in American history, and are inspirations for many of our country’s finest leaders.
The real fact is that community organizers and social workers are often the ones who work for free or low wages to help those who the Republican party doesn’t know exist.