Where have all the CDCs gone? For decades, Community Development Corporations tackled some of America’s most challenging problems: neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, community economic development, workforce development and job creation, financial empowerment and food access.
How did the United States, with 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners, become home to the largest prison system in the history of the world? Some say it’s an accomplishment. The U.S. is a law and order country and our criminal justice system is the envy of the world. Others feel quite differently and suggest that the “war on drugs” led to the mass incarceration of two generations of the urban poor.
It is a serious misperception to view social workers as low paid civil servants who push paper on behalf of the less fortunate and perhaps undeserving. Social workers occupy a unique position in our social fabric.
From the very outset, the history of social work is populated with empathetic leaders who, upon discovering profound human suffering, not only offered a helping hand but immediately set out to change the social conditions contributing to the suffering. Social work's earliest pioneers - Florence Kelley, Alice Hamilton, Julia Lathrop, Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Grace and Edith Abbott, among others—laid the foundation of the profession's social leadership role and, to this day, this inclination to activism sets social workers apart from other civil servants.