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Center for Professional Development

Civic Engagement

In Part 1 of the Civic Education for Civic Engagement series, we introduced you to the people, practices and policies that could help you impact change in our society, whether through grassroots organizing, legislative efforts or direct action.

Now that you're equipped with the tactics, learn more about the specific issues that you feel called to address:

  • Islamophobia
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Environment

Join national, regional and local experts in this workshop series as they share their insights about these charged and misunderstood issues. Come away with fact-based knowledge that will help you to create the change you seek.

Where:
University of Denver
Graduate School of Social Work
Craig Hall Commons
2148 South High St.
Denver, CO 80208

Register here!

Environmental Justice: Take Steps Today for Lasting Change

When: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Time:
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This course offers 4.0 contact hours

Cost:
$99 for professionals and community members
$79 for DU affiliates* (DU faculty, staff and alumni)
$49 for current students (must provide a valid student ID at check-in)
There is a discounted price for the Healthcare Policy and Media course.
*Discounted pricing provided for GSSW affiliates generously sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work.

Register here.

The tenets of environmental justice hold that all people everywhere should have access to a healthy and thriving environment. Further, all people should be able to live in freedom from environmental dangers. But is this achievable on a planet (and in a country) where people continue to buy huge houses and cars, produce multiple children and purchase products with no thought to their production cycle or packaging? Daily we hear threats to environmental protections in the United States and beyond, what can we do as concerned and committed citizens to protect humanities' right to a healthy environment?

In this one-day workshop, you will hear from the following Environmental Justice experts:

  • Sarah Bexell, Visiting Clinical Associate Professor in DU's Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), and Director of Humane Education with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection
  • Pranietha Mudliar, Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Justice and Sustainability with the Interdisciplinary Incubator for the Study of (In)equality (IRISE) as at DU
  • Kristi Roybal, Doctoral Student in DU's Graduate School of Social Work
  • Scott MacDonald, Program Coordinator at GreenLeaf and GSSW alumnus
  • Nola Miguel, Director at LiveWell Colorado, Community Organizer and GSSW alumna
  • Andrea Savage, Program Coordinator at Groundwork Denver

Workshop Outline

  1. Opening Introductions: Dr. Chad King, Sustainability Director for DU, and Dr. Amanda Moore McBride, Morris Endowed Dean and Professor for the Graduate School of Social Work
  2. Broad Environmental Justice Framework: Sarah Bexell
  3. Portraits of Environmental Justice in Denver
    • GreenLeaf: Food Justice, Scott MacDonald
    • LiveWell Colorado: Pollution and Neighborhood Disruption Justice, Nola Miguel
    • Groundwork Denver: Water Justice, Andrea Savage
  4. Environmental Justice Scholarship as a form of action/activism: Pranietha Mudliar
  5. Civic Engagement: Learn how you can engage in Environmental Justice, facilitated by Kristi Royball

To wrap up, Sarah Bexell shares hopeful information from the Graduate School of Social Work, which houses the world's first concentration in Sustainable Development and Global Practice. Students in this program develop practice behaviors in assessment, community engagement, education, health promotion, mobilization, organizing, poverty reduction, environmental preservation and capacity building. Hear from graduate students who are in the field and expanding the goals of the environmental justice movement.

Come away with a more profound understanding of the importance of environmental justice and the actions that you can take to expand the cause.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Participants in this course will:

  • Increase their environmental literacy
  • Discover environmental justice causes and programs in Denver
  • Learn ways to be proactive citizens with skills to expand the cause of environmental justice
  • Meet others who share common concerns and goals

LEAD INSTRUCTOR BIOGRAPHY

Sarah Bexell has been engaged in wildlife conservation, conservation education and humane education for over 20 years. Currently, she is Visiting Clinical Associate Professor with the Graduate School of Social Work and Director of Humane Education with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection both at the University of Denver, and also Director of Conservation Education at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China. Her work focuses on developing and evaluating education programs to facilitate the human-animal-nature bond to promote animal welfare and rights, healthy child development, and wildlife and nature preservation. She has worked in China for two decades to build capacity of conservation and humane education professionals. Her teaching at the University of Denver focuses on global sustainable development and humane education. She lives and works part of each year in Colorado and in Sichuan Province, China.

Health Care Policy & the Role of the Media: Know the Facts, Listen Closely and Act!

When: 
Date coming soon!

Cost:
$79 for professionals and community members
$59 for DU affiliates* (DU faculty, staff and alumni)
$29 for current students (must provide a valid student ID at check-in)
There is a discounted price for the Healthcare Policy and Media course.
*Discounted pricing provided for GSSW affiliates generously sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work.

Health care is currently being debated in our cars, cafes, communities and Congress. For most of us, it often seems that these discussions have very little to do with actual care or health or even what matters to us. And, depending on which media outlets you follow, the analysis of health policy decisions can seem contrary to the delivering of care or receiving of care as a patient. With so much information, how do we begin to separate fact from fiction? Rhetoric and politics from reality?

In this two-hour presentation, join four experts as they: 1) help to unravel what is happening in health policy; 2) explain how the media work to tell the stories that impact our country's beliefs and, 3) empower you to take action.

  • Benjamin Miller, Psy.D., first explains the overall landscape of health care and health policy. Learn the ways that research impacts policy and why many leaders tend to base decisions more on belief rather than evidence. Dr. Miller explains why it's important for the people with the facts (academics and health care workers) to impact positive policy change. (It's not ok for the people in the trenches to decide that policy work is "someone else's job.")
  • Jennifer Brown, projects reporter at The Denver Post, discusses the challenges of reporting on healthcare legislation and sharing that information with a broad, diverse audience.
  • John Daley, health reporter for Colorado Public Radio, explains how he studies policy decisions and then finds ways to share the impact of those decisions on real people, from farmers in northeast Colorado to families in Denver.
  • Chris Vanderveen, investigative reporter with 9News, discusses the ways that he reports on the unintended consequences of healthcare policy, shedding light on the impacts that many might like to ignore.

Finally, the panel discusses ways that you can identify the area(s) that matter most to you and how you can impact positive healthcare policy change. Enjoy a Q&A session to further hone your goals.

Come away with a better understanding of what is actually happening in health care policy today, ways that research impacts policy decisions, ways that you can be a more discriminating media consumer, and efforts you can take to impact policy change in the healthcare arenas you care about most.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants in this course will:

  • Learn the importance of policy in advancing the local and national dialogue on health
  • Examine the ways different media outlets address policy through their reporting
  • Identify at least three ways that they can get involved in policy to impact positive change in the healthcare arenas they care about most

Content subject to change.

Instructor Biographies: 

Benjamin F. Miller, Psy.D., is the Chief Policy Officer for Well Being Trust, a national foundation committed to advancing the health and well-being of the nation. He helps oversee the foundation's portfolio ensuring alignment across grantees and connection to policy. Prior to joining Well Being Trust, Dr. Miller spent 8 years as an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he was the founding Director of Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center. The Farley Center was created in 2014 to be a leader in conducting policy studies, relevant to particular health and health care challenges, disseminating evidence to those positioned to use it in their decision-making issues related to health policy for the University, and to be a leader locally and nationally on a variety of topic areas. Under Dr. Miller's leadership, the Farley Center worked on four main areas: behavioral health integration, payment reform, workforce, and community based prevention. He remains a Senior Advisor to the Farley Center.

Jennifer Brown is an investigative reporter for The Denver Post, where she has worked since 2005. She has written about the child welfare system, mental health, education and politics. She previously worked for The Associated Press, The Tyler Morning Telegraph in Texas, and the Hungry Horse News in Montana.

John Daley joined Colorado Public Radio full time in 2014 after freelancing for both CPR and NPR throughout the previous year. In 2012, he moved to Denver from Salt Lake City where he spent more than a decade as a beat and investigative reporter. John has broad experience as a journalist, having worked in both television and radio at KSL in Salt Lake City where he's covered a wide range of topics, including health care, politics, transportation, immigration, and the Olympics. Throughout his career, John has earned several distinctions and awards from various organizations.  Among those, John won a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism from the University of Southern California in 2011. 

Chris Vanderveen is a reporter on 9News KUSA-TV's nationally recognized investigative unit, 9Wants to Know. His investigations have led to legislation on both a state and federal level. Earlier this year, for example, members of Colorado's congressional delegation reintroduced the "Helicopter Fuel System Safety Act" as a response to Chris' two-year investigation looking into fuel system vulnerabilities within the majority of the country's civilian helicopter fleet. Twice in the last five years, the National Press Photographers Association has awarded Chris its prestigious "Reporter of the Year" award. He has won more than five dozen regional Emmy awards. Chris' ongoing "Show Us Your Bills" investigation has helped expose questionable billing practices within the state's medical industry. By using simple crowdsourcing techniques, "Show Us Your Bills" has raised the curtain on the billing practices of everything from freestanding emergency rooms to urine drug testing labs. The twin brother of a doctor and the son of a nurse, Chris deeply respects those who work in the medical industry, but he also never misses an opportunity to question why this country spends so much on medical care.

Past Workshops:

Understanding & Influencing Legislation

Thank you for attending!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

This course offers 4.0 contact hours

Course Description: 

Participating in the political process can seem complicated and daunting. How can one person make a difference? This course, led by Hope Errico Wisneski, Western Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign, will help individuals identify their passions and plug into the political process. It will also help social workers to better serve their clients and organizations as social workers advocate for policies that protect and benefit their constituents.

First, Hope will share the big picture of the political process and how laws are made federally, by state and locally. The premise is that when you understand the process, you can better identify where you can make the most impact. Next, she will help you examine your own goals and motivations. What is driving you to make change? When you identify your passion, you can more easily identify causes you might join. Next, learn the different ways that you might advocate for your cause, from letter-writing campaigns to visits to the legislature.

What are the skill sets and resources that you bring to the cause? Speaking to social workers, Hope helps both clinicians and community organizers understand how their professional ethics require skills in policy work. Hope will share stories of her work in the field and also provides hands-on, small-group exercises that help participants apply what they learn. Additionally, DU Assistant Professor Jennifer Greenfield will visit to discuss bills that are currently making their way through the Colorado legislative process, helping you to further hone your areas of focus. Come away with civic education for civic engagement!

Social workers will gain the additional benefit of being better able to help their clients and community organizations to create change through the legislative process.

Read more about the speaker

Hope

Hope Errico Wisneski serves as the Western Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign where she maintains and expands HRC’s ability to mobilize grassroots advocacy on behalf of federal and state LGBTQ legislative priorities. In this capacity, she also designs and implements grassroots electoral and campaign strategies in support of federal and state candidates and ballot initiatives, in the region.  Previously, she worked with the Gill Foundation, where she served as a Program Officer and managed the State Equality Fund. In this capacity, Hope worked with state and local advocacy organizations to develop, fund and implement plans to advance pro-equality policy at the state level, in addition to working with LGBTQ national organizations. Prior to the Gill Foundation, Hope served as the Deputy Executive Director of The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center) where she oversaw daily operations, supervised all programs and supported a 3.5M capital campaign and new building project. Prior to this role, Hope served as The Center’s Director of Youth Services, gaining national recognition for expertise with LGBTQ youth program implementation, research and training.  Hope coauthored 12 publications focusing on LGBTQ youth issues including suicide, school experiences and homelessness. Hope’s former experience includes various client service and management roles in juvenile justice and mental health agencies.  Hope earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Arizona. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver, where she has served as an adjunct faculty member. Hope provides LGBTQ competency training locally, regionally and nationally, and has served on numerous local and national nonprofit boards and advisory committees.

Community Organizing 101

Thank you for attending!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course offers 4.0 contact hours

View the presenter's powerpoint  here. 

Course description:

Rosa Parks did not act alone; she was trained and supported by a faith-based community organization that was helping individuals stand up on their own behalf. The fundamental goal of all community organizing initiatives is to support people who want to act on behalf of their own needs and beliefs. Join Mike Kromrey, Executive Director of Together Colorado, as he leads a hands-on, interactive workshop to teach you how to speak up on your behalf or to help others do the same.

Mike will share stories from his extensive experience motivating and organizing people across Colorado and the country. Participants will learn about the "iron rule" of community organizing: "Never do for others what they can do for themselves." Mike will lead role play exercises that teach participants the value of:

  1. Powerful invitations. Too often, we wonder why " people" don't get involved, but most of the time, they just need to be asked! Never assume someone is too busy or has too many life challenges to get involved. The right conversation can inspire action.
  2. Research for action. What is it like to participate in a group that seeks to organize for change? Learn skills that can help you participate, organize or lead a group.
  3. Utilizing and interfacing with power. What is it like to address someone in power? How does it make you feel? Confront your own feelings about power as the group holds a mock public meeting. Social workers and mental health providers are encouraged to take this class to learn ways to engage their clients so that their voices may be heard. This is particularly critical for those who serve underrepresented groups.

Read more about the speaker

Mike

Mike Kromrey is Executive Director of Together Colorado, an affiliate of the PICO National Network. Mike earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and an MSW from the University of Denver. Mike's history with community organizing spans 36 years. He was hired as an organizer by Catholic Community Services in 1980. In 1985, Mike became Director of Metro Organizations for People (MOP), a job he held for 10 years. In 1990, Mike left Denver to direct Congregations Building Community (CBC), a community organization in northern Colorado. Mike directed CBC for five years, returning full-time to the job of directing PICO's statewide community organization, Together Colorado, in July of 2000. In addition to directing Together Colorado, Mike serves on the PICO national staff providing consulting and coaching to PICO's affiliates in Texas, Alabama, San Francisco and Sacramento. Mike also directs Together Colorado Action, the C-4 political arm in Colorado.

FACILITATING COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY: OVERCOMING POLARIZATION THROUGH DELIBERATIVE ENGAGEMENT

Thank you for attending!

Monday, March 27, 2017
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  (Optional 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Facilitation Training Session)

This course offers 4.0 contact hours 

Course description:

Increasingly, it feels like people have lost the ability to find common ground. It is a human tendency to make up our minds about how we feel or what we believe and then to behave as though those who believe differently are wrong or – worse – evil. But true progress and democracy require that we learn collaborative problem-solving skills so that our solutions truly address the complexity of the problems we face.

Join Martín Carcasson, professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University and founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation, as he teaches you new ways to communicate with others in order to find common ground. Start with an examination of the communication models we typically rely on to solve problems: 1) adversarial: "I've made up my mind and now I need to convince others." 2) expert: "I'm the expert, so clearly I know what's right for everyone." Then, compare those processes to the deliberative engagement process: "Let's re-define the question itself, listen to and learn from each other, uncover the underlying tensions, and work through them together."

Practice the first step in deliberative dialogue: redefine the problem you face. Carcasson shares the concept of "wicked problems," which tend to be complex and fraught with competing underlying values. If you define such a problem as having only two possible solutions (ie. "My way or your way") then you will likely never find the best solution and will fuel further polarization. Rather, learn to define a problem differently so that everyone approaches it with a more open mind. Then, Carcasson teaches you how to identify the values that you bring to a problem and how to listen for the values that others bring. Finally, learn the ways that a trained facilitator can create an environment for all to interact productively.

Come away with more effective problem-solving skills and the ability to elevate the quality of communication in your personal, professional and civic conversations.

Read more about the speaker

Martín Carcasson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University, and the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD). He also serves as a Senior Public Engagement Fellow with Public Agenda, a nationally recognized public engagement firm based in New York, serves on the faculty of the Kettering Foundation’s Centers for Public Life program, and is the chair of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Board of Directors. His research focuses on deliberative engagement and collaborative problem-solving. He has received additional certification training by the National Issues Forum, the International Association of Public Participation, and the Institute for Participatory Management and Planning.  The CPD serves as an impartial resource for the Northern Colorado community dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication, community problem solving, and collaborative decision-making. Dr. Carcasson trains students and community members to serve as impartial facilitators, who then work with local governments, school boards, and community organizations to analyze tough issues and then design, facilitate, and report on innovative public forums on those issues.  His research has been published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, the Journal of Public Deliberation, Higher Education Exchange, the International Journal of Conflict Resolution, New Directions in Higher Education, Public Sector Digest, Communication Theory, National Civic Review, Colorado Municipalities, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech. 

Direct Action 101: Traditions and Tactics

Monday, April 3, 2017

Time: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

This course offers 4.0 contact hours

Course Description:

Direct action: defined as organized on-the-ground action that communities use to reveal an issue or implement the change they want; to shut things down or open things up; to apply pressure on powerbrokers or policy makers; to re-imagine what is possible; to defend something positive; to bring attention to something un-just.

Feel like you need to do something in your community to advance social justice but don't know what or how? Join leaders of Black Lives Matter 5280, SURJ Denver (Showing Up For Racial Justice) and DU Professor Ramona Beltran as they lead an interactive workshop designed to give participants concrete knowledge and skills for planning and implementing direct action.

Communities have used direct action to inspire changes in society throughout history. Social work was founded on through direct action, which is now taught across all social work programs. Direct action has been particularly utilized by black and brown communities, which have been purposefully excluded from political processes and economic systems. This workshop includes three primary components including an overview of direct action history, understanding accountability and responsibility, and developing concrete skills for action implementation.

We will begin with an exploration of the historical contexts and traditions of direct action, while also shedding light on the real world repercussions for individuals, families and communities that practice direct action. We will then explore the notion of accountability and responsibility within the practice of direct action with a focus on understanding how the dynamics of positional privilege are implicated in participation. We will conclude with exercises to develop concrete skills that participants can use to plan, coordinate, and implement direct actions including information gathering, power mapping, trust building, and assigning roles for optimal impact.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop understanding of the history and traditions of direct action.
  • Develop and demonstrate awareness of accountability and expectations for participation in direct action.
  • Develop and apply concrete skills for direct action implementation.

Register HERE

Find out more about the speakers

Ramona Beltrán, MSW, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Her scholarship is committed to interrupting legacies of historical trauma that affect indigenous and other marginalized communities. As a dancer/activist/scholar, she focuses on working with communities in disrupting the problem-focused approach to understanding health and well being that is profuse in mainstream research and practice. She does this through centering culture, resistance, and healing, and arts-based and storytelling methods in collaborative knowledge production with and for indigenous and other communities of color.

Speakers also include: A leader in Black Lives Matter 5280 experienced in direction action and community organizing”

 

Addressing Islamophobia: Facts & Practical Tools for the Workplace and the Classroom

Date:
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Time: 
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This course offers 4.0 contact hours

Cost: 
$99 for professionals and community members
$79 for DU affiliates* (DU faculty, staff and alumni)
$49 for current students (must provide a valid student ID at check-in)
There is a discounted price for the Healthcare Policy and Media course.
*Discounted pricing provided for GSSW affiliates generously sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work.

Register here.

Course Description: 
Muslims have been part of the United States since the days of the Thirteen Colonies, although they make up only 1% of the U.S. population today. Like every marginalized population, they have always faced some degree of discrimination. Since 2015, however, Muslims have faced new levels of hostility, and many American Muslims are living in fear. "Islamophobia," a relatively new term, has become a trending word politically and socially, while even the most tolerant people tend to believe things about Islam and Muslims that simply aren't true.

Empower yourself to tackle Islamophobia in the workplace, classroom and social settings, and to be able to connect with Muslim clients, colleagues and friends, by learning more about the presence of Muslims in the United States and their civic engagement today.

Join three respected educators as they bust myths, share truths, reveal history and examine today's political environment – all in an effort to help participants from a broad spectrum of professions to provide better service to Muslim communities and to speak factually about Muslims in their everyday conversations.

Start with a brief policy update from Jennifer Greenfield, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work. Dr. Greenfield will frame Islamophobia in terms of state and federal policies, focusing specifically on recent hot-button issues such as immigration and racial discrimination. Next, Andrea Stanton, PhD, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, provides a brief history of Islam in the U.S., with some key demographic data on American Muslims today. Then, Iman Jodeh, MPA, Executive Director of Meet the Middle East, shares the efforts that today's Muslims are undertaking in terms of civic engagement, political activism and combatting Islamophobia and extremism.

This workshop includes interactive, small group sessions to enable participants to discuss their specific goals professionally and personally when it comes to serving or learning more about Muslims. For example, teachers with Muslim populations or Islam-focused content can request resources that help to make their classrooms more inclusive. Medical and behavioral health professionals can discuss ways to support Muslim patients while providing care.

Learning Objectives:  
Participants in this course will:

  • Understand current policy issues impacting American Muslims, and how these impact professional and personal interactions
  • Understand the long history of Muslims in the US, and be able to use education as a tool for professional and personal engagement
  • Understand the contours of contemporary American Muslim communities and Muslim civic engagement
  • Examine ways that our political discourses are contributing to Islamophobia
  • Discover local, state, and national resources for professional and personal use

Content subject to change.

Instructor Biographies: 
Andrea Stanton
is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, and an affiliate faculty member at the Korbel Center for Middle East Studies. Her research focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century Islam in the Middle East and around the world. She obtained her MA and PhD from Columbia University, and her BA from Williams College. Her first book, This is Jerusalem Calling, was published in 2013. She has received grants from the American Academy of Religion, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Institute of Peace. She frequently speaks on issues relating to the contemporary Middle East and Islam.

Jennifer C. Greenfield is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work. Her research focuses on the intersections of health and wealth disparities across the life course, especially through the mechanism of family caregiving. Through her research, Dr. Greenfield seeks to identify and test policy interventions that best support families as they balance employment and caregiving. She has testified before numerous state legislative committees and her work has been cited in a variety of media outlets, particularly related to paid leave and minimum wage policy initiatives. Her research has been supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Center for Retirement Research, and the National Association of Social Workers Foundation.

Iman Jodeh is the co-founder and executive director of Meet the Middle East, a non-profit organization that aims to educate Americans on Middle Eastern culture, religion, geography, history, and politics. She serves on the board of directors of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, and as spokesperson for the Colorado Muslim Society. A first-generation Palestinian-American, Iman is fluent in Arabic and maintains a second home in Ramallah, Palestine. In addition to her role at Meet the Middle East, she lectures at the University of Denver, and is a regular guest speaker on Islam and the geopolitical climate of the Middle East.

Keep the Lamp Lifted: Basics of Accompanying Immigrants in an Era of Radicalized Enforcement and Degraded Protections

When: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time: 
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This course offers 4.0 contact hours

Where:
University of Denver
Anderson Academic Commons
Loft - Room 340
2150 E Evans Ave.
Denver, CO 80210

Cost:
$99 for professionals and community members
$79 for DU affiliates* (DU faculty, staff and alumni)
$49 for current students (must provide a valid student ID at check-in)
There is a discounted price for the Healthcare Policy and Media course.
*Discounted pricing provided for GSSW affiliates generously sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work.

Register here

Course Description:

Many have called immigration the civil rights issue of our time. Certainly, it is one of the most emotional and divisive issues, begging uncomfortable questions about who we are as a people and how we relate to the rest of the world. Extremely limited ways to immigrate lawfully, rigorous enforcement of immigration laws, the rampant rise of immigration detention, massive numbers of deportations, and pervasive fear among immigrant communities are not new. Nonetheless, immigration policy under the Trump Administration is distinct. It is marked by moves to drastically expand who can be detained and deported, restrict legal immigration, ban entrants from particular countries, and strip previous protections for certain immigrants. What do allies of immigrants need to know about immigration law basics and current policies? How can social workers, service providers, educators, activists, and others responsibly accompany immigrants to stay safe and meet essential needs? How can concerned people engage in local movements to resist negative changes, preserve and enhance protections, and reframe the issues?

Join local advocates to answer these questions during a four-hour, interactive workshop. First, staff members of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN)—provider of free immigration legal services to immigrant children and youth in Colorado and to detained immigrant adults—will guide participants to share their knowledge with each other by playing Immigration Bingo (prizes included!). Next, RMIAN social worker Megan Hope and RMIAN Children's Program attorney Lauren Duke will present Immigration 101: immigration status types and corresponding limitations and rights (including a basic overview of public benefits eligibility), government agencies involved in immigration services and enforcement, and immigration status options/forms of legal relief from deportation. Megan will explore special considerations when working with immigrant populations, including rights and risks involving detention and deportation, challenges of families with mixed status, and appropriate social service resources for undocumented immigrants. Lauren will provide a briefing on current immigration policy, including President Trump's executive orders on immigration enforcement and the rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The final part of the day will be led by Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee, which works to create a welcoming climate for all people by building broad support for immigrant justice. Jennifer will inform participants about local immigration policy advocacy efforts, including Colorado sanctuary cities and the Colorado Rapid Response Network. She will offer guidance on engaging in these and other civic movements for change.

Learning Objectives:  

Participants in this course will:

  1. Gain basic knowledge about immigration law, including status types, relevant government agencies, and dynamics of detention and deportation
  2. Learn at least three ways to support immigrant communities to stay safe and meet basic needs
  3. Get up to speed on major recent changes in federal immigration policy
  4. Identify at least three ways to advocate for just immigration policies and practices

Instructor Biographies: 

Megan Hope is the Social Service Project Director at the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN. She oversees the Social Service Project's provision of behavioral health support, legal case support, and release planning to particularly vulnerable adults in immigration detention. Megan also conducts legal orientation presentations and is a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited legal representative. For close to six years, she served as coordinator of RMIAN's Human Trafficking Project. Megan has worked with immigrant communities since 1995, including as a former staff member and current member of the board of directors of Annunciation House, Inc. in El Paso, Texas; migrant advocate, immigration paralegal, and grant writer with Legal Aid of Western Missouri's Migrant Farmworker Project; former board president and clinic coordinator of the Kansas City Worker Justice Center; and activist with other immigrant and worker rights organizations. For several years she conducted program evaluations of child sponsorship agencies in Latin America and Asia. She has a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Kansas and MSW from the University of Denver.

Lauren Duke is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow with the Children's Program at RMIAN. She provides know-your-rights presentations, intakes, referrals, and direct legal representation to unaccompanied children in deportation proceedings. Lauren first worked with RMIAN as a volunteer attorney, prior to joining the staff in 2016. She graduated from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2014. During law school, Lauren worked for the Spanish Speaking Lawyers Association to increase access to legal services in the immigrant community. She also worked for the law school's civil litigation clinic, with a focus on immigrant victims of wage theft. Prior to law school, Lauren advocated for immigrants in Northwest Arkansas, where she established the first Spanish adult basic education program in the state. Prior to joining RMIAN, Lauren worked in private practice as an employment and civil litigation associate. Lauren graduated from the University of Arkansas with a dual degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She also received a Master's degree in Public Administration with a focus on non-profit management from the University of Arkansas.

Jennifer Piper was born and raised in Denver, where she grew up on Catholic social teachings in a union family. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Social Work. Jennifer put her degree to use working with youth at a group home and as a bilingual advocate at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Jennifer first became conscious about immigrant rights during her time in Peace Corps, Paraguay. In 2003, upon her return from Paraguay, she became a member of Coloradans for Immigrant Rights, a project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). In 2005, she received her Master's in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating, Jennifer worked as an auditor for the State of Colorado for two years before becoming paid staff at AFSC, as the Interfaith Organizing Director for Immigrant Rights. Her work focuses on fostering faith-based dialogue about, and faith based actions supporting, immigrants and immigration reform. She co-founded and coordinates the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, 10 congregations working to embody the integrity of their faith traditions to proclaim and protect the dignity and worth of every human being. She received the 2010 Amos award from Lutheran Advocacy Ministry for her work on immigration.

GSSW

For registration and information contact the Center for Professional Development at  cpd@du.edu  or 303-871-4161

The University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor contact hours for psychologists. GSSW maintains responsibility for this program and its content.