The Never Ending Picket Line
What would I protest...Well, as a social worker I'd have to say I would protest and actively do protest just about every bit of fuckery the human race engages in. The whole purpose of my career is to help those who may be marginalized and lack resources. Specifically, I work with 0-3 year old's who may be born premature, have genetic conditions, neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, kiddos at risk for or diagnosed with autism, and the one that REALLY FUCKING PISSES ME OFF, children who are born exposed to drugs and alcohol.
The agency I work for was created in California by parents in the 1960's who were told by doctors and other medical professionals that their child should be institutionalized because they had conditions like Down's Syndrome. So, basically, the idea was, "Let's warehouse your developmentally disabled kid and you can go on with your lives and pretend he/she doesn't exist." Well, this didn't jive with a small group of the parents. So when they were told by, "Medical Professionals" to put their child on mothballs in an institution somewhere, they politely declined and said, "Fuck that and fuck you." They then lobbied the state legislature and frankly, annoyed the fuck out of a lot of politicians. Finally, a guy by the name of Lanterman got tired of being pestered by those darn loving, caring parents who want to keep their children at home. So, he wrote a bill which would come to be called the Lanterment Act. Basically, the law stated that it is more humane and even more cost effective to support these families than to institutionalize their kiddos. Regional Centers were then set up whose mission was and is to help families of kiddos and adults with developmental delays. Our ultimate goal is to help the developmentally disabled individual gain as much independence as possible and we have adult consumers who work, live independently, and do everything us boring, Developmentally appropriate" schmucks can do. The services offered are free and range from the simple monitoring of a preemie's developmental milestones all the way to making sure extremely medically fragile individuals get the correct support. Of course, we also support the caregivers by funding respite care agencies (or even pay family members) for the consumer. This allows the full time caregivers to get a break and take care of their own needs.
So, how does my current career lead me to protest just about every example of human fuckery? Simple. In helping the kiddos on my caseload to get what they need, I often have to help the family deal with some form of discrimination. It's not uncommon for me to ask a question like, "So tell me why exactly you are refusing to rent to this family because there are laws against housing discrimination?" I'd like to think in situations like these I make the bad guys piss themselves. Because the one thing I know for sure is as a state agency our lawyers can beat up their lawyers.
Of course, this is just one example. Another example, is discrimination against members of the LBGTQ+ community. Many would argue that members of this community shouldn't be allowed to foster children. To that I say, "Okay, you bigoted fuck, so how many foster kids are you going to take in?" It's amazing how quickly these morality warriors shut their fucking mouths. Oh, they may find kiddos being fostered by a gay couple morally objectionable, but it isn't objectionable enough for them to become foster parents themselves. I have had quite a few foster kiddos on my caseload who are fostered by members of the LBGTQ+ community and frankly, as foster parents, THEY ROCK! In fact, LBGTQ+ foster parents often take the kiddos with the most needs and do so knowing that the newborn in their care is still kicking heroin and will likely be shrieking in withdrawal for days to come. I can honestly say that when I get a new kiddo on my caseload who has LBGTQ+ foster parents I smile because that kiddo is going to experience boundless love and understanding. I've been doing this job for a while now and not a single LBGTQ+ foster parent has ever been anything less than amazing, loving, kind and dedicated advocates for the kiddos in their care. So, I will fight for them to have the same rights as everyone else because they possess a combination of compassion, commitment and bravery that many of us vanilla straight folk will ever be able to replicate.
I could go on and on about ways we have to become social justice warriors for our families, but after a while it becomes exhausting to even think about it. If I could protest every injustice I encounter, I'd never leave the picket line. Social Work rarely stays within the scope of an individual because the individual's needs cause a ripple effect that includes those around them. So, if I have to call out a racist landlord so that the family has a place to live I will. If I have to protest the use of certain pesticides because there is evidence that adults who work around those chemicals have been found to have children with autism at a higher rate than families who aren't exposed to the pesticides, I will. In short, I love humanity, but the infinite number of ways we hurt each other and our planet cannot be delt with by a single, underfunded state agency. Help would be greatly appreciated.