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School of Social Work Growing Together As Allies

Social Workers, the Vote and US Democracy

Session 1: September 14, 2021, 12-1:30 pm

Terry Mizrahi and Mimi Ambramovitz


Recorded Session

Social workers who sit at the intersection of the individual and society are well positioned to reach large numbers of unregistered voters. The field education department of social work schools represents the hub of National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign (Voting is Social Work). Since 2018 the Campaign, endorsed by more than 25 major social work organizations, has been working with schools of social work and their associated agencies to register large numbers of students, clients, and constituents to vote. This presentation discusses the historic role of social workers in voter registration, the benefit of voting, and the mounting barriers to a fair vote. It focuses on voter suppression designed to demoralize the electorate, to make people believe that their system is rigged and that their vote does not count, and suggests that voter suppression and systemic racism increasingly represent dangerous threats to democracy in the US.

Terry Mizrahi

Terry Mizrahi, PhD, MSW is a Professor (Emeritus) at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and was chair of its Community Organizing, Planning & Development practice method. She is currently Co- Chair of a national movement—The Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work. She also co-chairs the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign which she founded in 2017 ( Her expertise is in community development, health-care policy and patients’ rights; areas of research and training in professional socialization and physician behavior, social work in health care, interdisciplinary collaboration, interorganizational coalition-building and community organizing. She is the author of several books, monographs, guides, and articles. She served as the former president of the National Association of Social Workers and a founder of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration. She is a current and founding board member of the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP), a grassroots advocacy group of parents and professionals working to reform NYC’s child welfare system.

Mimi Abramovitz

Mimi Abramovitz, the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy at Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center, is often introduced as an activist and a scholar. Her research interests include the US welfare state, poverty, inequality, activism and the impact of public policy on human service organizations--all viewed through the lens of race, class and gender. Widely published in social work and often interviewed by the print and broadcast media, she is the author of five books. She is currently writing Gendered Obligations: The History of Activism Among Black and White Working-Class Women Since 1900. Mimi currently co-leads the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign also known as Voting is Social Work. She is the co-founder of the Welfare Rights Initiative at Hunter College and works with the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice, Influencing Social Policy (ISP).

Terry Mizrahi - Publications

Abramovitz, Mimi, Margaret Sherraden, Katharine Hill, Tanya Rhodes Smith, Beth Lewis, and Terry Mizrahi. 2019. "Voting is Social Work: Voices from the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign." Journal of Social Work Education 55 (4): 626-644.  MU Affiliates

Mizrahi, Terry and Jessica Greenawalt. 2017. "Gender Differences and Intersectionality in Community Organizing." Journal of Community Practice 25 (3-4): 432-463. MU Affiliates

Dodd, Sarah-Jane (SJ) and Terry Mizrahi. 2017. "Activism before and After Graduate Education: Perspectives from Three Cohorts of MSW Students." Journal of Social Work Education 53 (3): 503-519. MU Affiliates

Korazim-Kὅrösy, Yossi, Terry Mizrahi, Marcia Bayne-Smith, and Martha Lucia Garcia. 2014. "Professional Determinants in Community Collaborations: Interdisciplinary Comparative Perspectives on Roles and Experiences among Six Disciplines." Journal of Community Practice 22 (1-2): 229-255. MU Affiliates

Rothman, Jack and Terry Mizrahi. 2014. "Balancing Micro and Macro Practice: A Challenge for Social Work." Social Work (New York) 59 (1): 91-93.

Mizrahi, Terry and Sarah-Jane Dodd. 2013. "MSW Students' Perspectives on Social Work Goals and Social Activism before and After Completing Graduate Education." Journal of Social Work Education 49 (4): 580-600.  MU Affiliates

Mimi Abramovitz - Publications

Lewiskin Jocelyn, Mimi Abramovitz, and Jennifer Zelnick. 2021. "On the Front Lines: The Impact of Managerialism on the New York City Addiction Treatment Workforce." New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy.. doi:10.1177/10482911211041615

Zelnick, Jennifer, Mimi Abramovitz, and Steven Pirutinsky. 2021. "Assessing the Business Model in Social Work: A Validation of the Organizational Commitment to Managerialism Scale." Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Abramovitz, Mimi, Margaret Sherraden, Katharine Hill, Tanya Rhodes Smith, Beth Lewis, and Terry Mizrahi. 2019. "Voting is Social Work: Voices from the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign." Journal of Social Work Education 55 (4): 626-644. MU Affiliates

Abramovitz, Mimi and Margaret S. Sherraden. 2016. "Case to Cause: Back to the Future." Journal of Social Work Education 52 (sup1): S89-S98. MU Affiliates

Abramovitz, Mimi and Jennifer Zelnick. 2015. "Privatization in the Human Services: Implications for Direct Practice." Clinical Social Work Journal 43 (3): 283-293. MU Affiliates

Abramovitz, Mimi and Lisa V. Blitz. 2015. "Moving Toward Racial Equity: The Undoing Racism Workshop and Organizational Change." Race and Social Problems 7 (2): 97-110. MU Affiliates

Abramovitz, Mimi and Jochen Albrecht. 2013. "The Community Loss Index: A New Social Indicator." The Social Service Review (Chicago) 87 (4): 677-724.