NASW-MN's 2022 Virtual Symposium

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(Re)visioning: Our Profession, Our Practice, Ourselves

January 28 // 12-4 PM (4 CEUs)

(Re)centering: Social Work & Abolition

An abolitionist take on social work, which will set the foundation for the symposium by focusing on what's possible and what we can build together.

Come witness a discussion between a group of social workers, across a range of work settings, who will share definitions of abolition and discuss their own pathways towards abolition. The panelists will explore the opportunities and barriers that arise in the demand for abolitionist social work practice, including questions of working within/outside of carceral systems, policing within our own communities, and if social work itself must be abolished. Participants will leave the session with workable understandings of prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition, applications for and challenges in applying PIC abolition in social work, and resources to advance the conversation in their own learning, personal, and professional communities.

Panelists from the Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work (NAASW):

  • Michelle Grier, LMSW 
    Michelle Grier (she/her) is a Black feminist committed to liberatory healing practices. She is social work trained, with over 15 years of experience facilitating conversations about race and oppression, building youth programming, and learning from and providing healing-informed support to young people and their families in schools and nonprofits. Grier's current commitments are focused on building equitable spaces and policies that promote the healing of youth survivors of racial and gender-based violence. She is a member of the NAASW and is grateful for the group's commitment to asking critical questions of the social work profession.

  • Vivianne Guevara, LMSW
    Vivianne is the Director of Social Work and Mitigation at the Federal Defenders of New York in the Eastern District and has been a social worker in public defense for over fourteen years. Vivianne was previously an Investigator and Social Worker at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, where she supported litigation that challenged conditions in juvenile and adult prisons, the provision of indigent defense, and the proliferation of debtor’s prisons. Vivianne began working in public defense as a Social Worker at the Bronx Defenders in 2007, where she worked with people who were charged in domestic violence and mental health courts. While working towards her MSW, Vivianne conducted street outreach at The Bowery Residents’ Committee where she worked with individuals experiencing homelessness on the streets and in the subways of New York City. Vivianne is a restorative and transformative justice practitioner and facilitates circles within public defense, schools, universities, coalitions, community members, and private and non-profit organizations. She continues to learn through teaching others and by providing opportunities that promote community and healing.

  • Sarah Knight, LMSW
    Sarah Knight is a social worker and practicing psychotherapist whose professional experience includes clinical and advocacy work with members of immigrant communities, with people who have been directly impacted by legal systems and other forms of state-sanctioned violence, and with survivors of complex trauma. Sarah has worked as a Defense Social Worker in New York City for over eight years, as part of immigration and criminal defense teams, has also consulted with organizations nation-wide to broaden their representation of immigrants with the ultimate goal of abolishing our current legal systems, and has practiced as a psychotherapist for four years with a focus on trauma-response and liberation-focused therapy modalities. Sarah was born and raised in rural Minnesota.

  • Nikita Rahman, MSW Student 
    Nikita Rahman, a Queens native, is a current MSW candidate at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW). This year, she is working as a parent advocate intern at The Bronx Defenders in their Family Defense practice, where she helps caregivers navigate and mitigate the harms of the family policing system. At CSSW, Nikita has also, along with a group of passionate staff and students, helped co-create a new mandated supporting training that has been piloted this fall, and aims to replace the current mandated reporter training which takes a violent carceral approach to reporting families of color. Nikita is also a dancer, plant mama, and sci-fi reader.

The Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work strives to amplify a practice of social work aimed at dismantling the prison industrial complex (PIC) and building the life-affirming horizon to which abolition aspires. NAASW's efforts include: ongoing political education, research around carceral and abolition social work, developing an online hub of abolitionist social work resources, and broader organizing to insert abolitionist ideas and practices into social work.

February 25 // 12-4 PM (4 CEUs)

(Re)imagining the Structures of our Profession

A critical examination of some of our profession's most basic and grounding structures, with a focus on licensure

March 25 // 12-4 PM (4 CEUs)

(Re)imagining Ourselves

A deep dive into the factors impacting our day-to-day realities in organizations and the field, including pay, diversity, and professional autonomy

April 29 // 12-4 PM (4 CEUs)

(Re)imagining our Practice

A fresh take on the interventions, models and theories that we use to serve clients and communities

May 20 // 12-3 PM (3 CEUs)

Social Work Summit: (Re)creating

Bringing together ideas and inspirations from the entire symposium, a culminating discussion and action plan for moving our new (re)vision forward

19 CEUs from live training - and more through independent learning!

About our theme

(Re)visioning - verb: a process by which we challenge what is, erase what does not work, and boldly and collectively create a new image of what could be.

Now is the time for (re)centering.

Social systems were designed to serve the interests of a few, at the expense of many - some needed systems were never designed at all. Historically and particularly over the past year, social work has been looked to for guidance, and presented as a remedy to marginalization, inequity and injustice. But social work is itself a system, created by design and responsible for immense harm - as well as a great deal of good. The challenges of today are complex, layered, and intersectional; they require nuance and intention. How prepared are we to address these challenges? 

There is no going “back to normal”. 
Our profession is at a turning point.
Now is the time for (re)imagining.

(Re) is about starting anew, having the opportunity to look at something from another perspective – and trying again. If we could start over, what would we do differently? How might we approach building our profession? What might you bring into your practice? In what ways would you look at yourself? What would happen if we built a world of “what could be” instead of building on “what is”?

We are a resilient profession – but we are not an innocent one. The world is rapidly changing and we must ask ourselves: What will we do differently? What practices and structures must we let go of to create a just and equitable world? How can we build something new and beautiful so that social work can live truly up to its potential?

Now is the time for (re)creating.

We invite you to question, to unlearn, to challenge, and to (re)build a new, inclusive, representative, and hopeful future – together. Join us as we (re)vision a bold ideal of what social work can and should be.

(Re)visioning our format

In lieu of our annual fall conference, we have put together a symposium that will feature one session every month between January and April 2022, concluding with our Social Work Summit in May 2022. Symposium content will focus on (re)defining the status quo of our profession. In each session, we will unpack a pressing issue and discuss bold approaches to meet the challenges of tomorrow. We will create space for multiple truths as we challenge ourselves to unlearn, evolve, lead, and follow into the future of social work.

With the ongoing pandemic and our desire to make this event accessible, we have (re)worked our format in a way that we hope will enable everyone who wishes to be a part of these conversations to attend. We invite you to join us and your colleagues from across Minnesota for an aspirational and inspirational event.

Symposium All-Access Channel

View everything you missed - for months after the session! Catch up on symposium recordings through our All-Access Channel - on your own time, and at your own pace! All symposium sessions (except small group discussions and the 5/20 Summit) will be recorded and available for viewing through May 31, 2022.

Can't attend live symposium dates? No problem!
You can still register to get admission to the Symposium All-Access Channel! Catch up on content through recorded sessions** and earn independent learning CEUs*!


NASW Student Member - $30
NASW Retired Member - $50
NASW Regular Members - $75
Not-Yet-Members - $150

Looking for Group rates?

Check out our Sponsorship packages for incredible perks and group registration! Download our Sponsor brochure.

NASW Members save up to $120 on registration! Join NASW today, and save!

Pricing includes access to: 

  • All 5 live symposium dates 
  • Symposium All-Access Channel to catch up on session recordings through end of May** 
  • Sponsor Resources Folder, filled with useful materials from sponsoring organizations 
  • Up to 19 CEUs available through live training and more through independent learning!*

Student and Retired Pricing only applies to NASW Student Members and NASW Retired Members, respectively.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

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All times shown are in Central Standard Time. Details about presenters and content will be added to this page as available. Check back soon - and reserve your spot now!

Registration now open!

Register for the Symposium

View our Symposium Brochure

Check back for details about presenters and content to be added to this webpage!

Sponsorship sign-up open!

With a multi-month event, there's never been a better way to promote your organization! We have sponsor packages to meet your needs and budget. 

Sponsor the symposium!

Download the Sponsorship Flyer.

Registration: Registration open through 11:59 p.m. CST on Thursday, May 12. To ensure timely processing of your registration, please register online. We recommend using a personal e-mail address (not a work or school e-mail address) to prevent filtering/blocking of symposium-related communications by your organization's servers. Mail-in and phone registrations will be accepted.

Payment: Credit card payment required at time of online registration. We do not accept American Express. Checks payable to NASW-MN can be mailed to PO Box 44323, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. Call 651-293-1935 ext. 1 to register and pay by phone. Registration and payment must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, January 13 in order to guarantee receipt of access/materials prior to symposium start.

Refunds & Cancellations: No refunds or cancellations after 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, January 13. Read our Refund and Cancellation Policy. E-mail with questions.

*Check with the regulatory board in the state(s) where you are licensed to learn how this event can be counted towards your licensure requirements.
**Social Work Summit: (Re)creating will not be recorded. Small group discussions will not be recorded. Recordings only available to symposium registrants.