I hope this time of year finds you well and carrying some glimmer of hope in the work that you do serving others. For me, I must be honest; this year, this is a challenging time of year. I thought I would find some relief in December, knowing that the elections would be finished. However, it is not quite what I thought. To be clear, while I am disappointed that my candidates (some, not all) did not win, my emotional state is not only about that disappointment. Frankly, it is more about the responses I am seeing and hearing, throughout our nation. The 18 months leading up to the election left me dumbfounded and frightened for our country. And since the election, while I am supportive of people who feel they need to be heard and demonstrate their feelings against the newly elected president. I am sad to hear that many of these demonstrations have turned violent and that people have been harmed. I am terrified for people who have been targets of anti minority chants, attacks or statements during and since the end of the election. This has further disenfranchised people who already feeling threatened. I am sad to hear that crisis lines are packed and having a difficult time keeping up with the demand. When the news came on this morning, I was sickened to see middle schoolers carrying Trump signs chanting on the news, “build that wall”.
Not everyone reading this letter today voted a straight Democratic ticket. I am fully aware and acknowledge that we have diverse membership. We do not all share the same political allegiance. We don’t need to. Having said that, regardless of your political persuasion, our profession is a profession of justice, a profession of peace and a profession of change. This, is something we do share and in our own ways, in the work that we do, we find ways to make this just and peaceful change happen.
Don’t stop doing this.
Don’t be paralyzed.
We may find ourselves bewildered by the activity around us and what has emerged in our communities during and since the election. But we cannot stop working toward the change, in a just and peaceful fashion.
We are beacons for others and we hold and live their hope in the work that we do.
Be the beacon.
Trusting in our steadfast commitment to change,
Donna Altepeter, LCSW
Your NASW Wisconsin President