Sharing Our Voices: Social Work Is Essential


March is National Social Work Month. World Social Work Day is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance our common message globally. The theme for 2021 Social Work Month is Social Work Is Essential. This year, World Social Work Day was recognized on March 16th with the theme Ubuntu – I Am Because We Are. 

I am grateful for the privilege to share what the 2021 Social Work theme means to women in different areas of social work to highlight the diversity in our profession and to offer another platform to these valuable voices.

Social Work Is Essential

“Social Work is Essential” speaks to the true spirit of the profession. Social work lives in every sector and is an integral piece to ensuring justice and equity in our society. To me, social work is revolutionary, community work. Social work is essential because of the true depth in the profession and in the tools and experiences that each individual social worker carries with them each day. 

-Sydney Wilson, MSW, C-CBE (BADT) – Field of Practice Healthcare Settings

Howard University School of Social Work: Community Administration, and Policy

Social work is in every aspect of our lives from mental health, physical health, policy, and activism. As a Public Health Social Worker, “Social Work is Essential” to me because it focuses on empowering individuals, families, and communities.  Social Workers understand that for a person to thrive he or she must have the support in place to do so, and that support comes from families and/or communities.

-Aleia Mays, MSW, MPH, Program Coordinator

University of Michigan School of Social Work: Community Development and Health

“Social Work is Essential” means that no matter what facet of the profession one may work in, social workers matter. Our impact is wide. From community outreach and engagement workers on the ground to policy makers, therapists, and child welfare workers, social workers touch many lives and when we are excluded or not allowed to properly do our jobs, the loss is felt across society.

-Katrina Foreman, LMSW, Social Worker Independent Contractor

Howard University School of Social Work: Criminal Justice

“Social Work is Essential”. In fact, I believe it is one of the most essential professions we have. Social Workers contribute and support most other professions while maintaining our own development, intuition, and businesses. Social work chose me, and this versatile profession is one that I am proud to be a part of.

-Laila El-Asmar, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist

The Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Service: Clinical Practice

     When I think about why “Social Work is Essential”, I think about how fundamental our profession is in making the world a better place. Social workers empower individuals, nurture healthy families, organize communities, and influence public policies.

     Our work is broad. It’s diverse. It’s impactful. We never have to wonder if our work is making a difference. It is seen every day. Our education and training offer versatility that often permits us to find solutions in the midst of many challenging situations. We are more than equipped! And that’s why we are so essential.

     May we continue to use the powerful tools that we have to uplift others and create sustainable change!

-Nikole Donovan, LMSW, MSW, Non-Profit Manager

Howard University School of Social Work : Macro Practice, Child & Family

“Social Work is Essential” is a both a declaration and a call to action. Social work is more than therapy and child welfare. Social workers are employed in and add value to every industry from education to government to healthcare to business and we will no longer be devalued. Fellow social workers, it’s time to stand up, speak up, and show up for ourselves, our colleagues, and our futures.

-Nicki Sanders, MSW, Founder, CEO, and Nonprofit Senior Director

University of Maryland School of Social Work: Management and Community Organization


Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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