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Opening Plenary keynote

Will Francis, LMSW
NASW/Texas Government Relations Director


"Social Work Stands for Advocacy"

Hear about the work NASW/Texas has accomplished around our licensing board, agenda and other key issues during the 86th legislative session. Learn about the importance of engaging in policy discussions around the upcoming elections and why advocacy starts in our communities and ends in Washington. The Opening Plenary will also feature a presentation of the proclamation for "Professional Social Workers Day" by Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough and an awards ceremony for the 2019 NASW/Texas Awardee Recipients, who will describe how their work reflects the conference theme, Elevate Social Work.


The Opening Plenary will be held Thursday, October 3, 2019, 12:30-2:15 pm in the Grand Ballroom at the Galveston Island Convention Center. (1 CEU)


About the speaker: Will Francis is the Government Relations Director for the NASW/Texas. He previously worked for Mental Health America of Texas as the Technical Assistance Manager for Texas Parents as Teachers–a home visiting program that focused on school readiness, child development and the reduction of abuse and neglect. Other work experience includes positions with Child Protective Services and Travis County Juvenile Probation. He also served as the Assistant Dean at a private school in Austin. Will received a master’s in social work from UT Austin. He lived in Hong Kong and Singapore at an early age. Residing abroad helped him develop a love of travel and an appreciation for cultural diversity. He has a passion for promoting the profession of social work and supporting social justice through public awareness. Will was selected as the 2018 NASW Gilman Wells Award Recipient for his successful track record representing Texas social workers and their clients at the Texas State Capital.





Closing Plenary

Joyce James, LMSW-AP
President, Joyce James Consulting


“It’s Time to ELEVATE the Social Work Profession!”

As of 2019, not a single discipline in our society requires its professionals to demonstrate an understanding of institutional and structural racism and its impact on our citizenry.  Nor is there a base of competencies to address race and racism. The primary mission of the social work profession, is “to enhance human well-being and to help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty." (NASW, 2008) The racial inequities that exist for the same populations and communities, as evidenced by the data in all helping systems, confirm that we have not and will not achieve this vision without a clear analysis and understanding of institutional and structural racism. We are not enablers. We are change agents!


The Closing Plenary will also include a dance-off fundraiser hosted by Texas Political Action for Candidate Election (TPACE), as well as Student Poster Presentation awards ceremony to recognize the 2019 Outstanding Student Poster Presentations.

The Closing Plenary will be held Saturday, October 5, 2019, 8-9:30am in the Grand Ballroom at the Galveston Island Convention Center. (1.5 CEUs)


About the presenter: Ms. James is President of Joyce James Consulting. She previously served as Assistant Commissioner of the Texas Child Protective Services and Associate Deputy Executive Commissioner of the Texas Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities.  She is recognized as a national expert on addressing racial inequities, and is credited with being the pioneer of efforts in Texas to eliminate institutional and structural racism in services to children, youth, and families. She is the originator of the Texas Model for Addressing Disproportionality and Disparities and the Groundwater Analysis of Racial Inequities. Her leadership and commitment to undoing racism has been recognized as a catalyst for significant and nationally recognized improvements in Texas and across the Country. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from University of St. Joseph’s.


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