The Cape Girardeau area chapter for the Missouri Association for Social Welfare will held its first meeting Thursday August 14th at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.
The group advocates for social justice and is a statewide organization based in Jefferson City. The citizen membership association was created in 1901 and aims at improving social conditions.
“Our mission at MASW, the Missouri Association for Social Welfare is to provide leadership, research, education and advocacy to improve public policies and programs that affect the health and welfare of all the people in Missouri, “ explains Walter Wildman, the Southeast Missouri Chapter Organizer.
The association helped develop The Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the Missouri Public Defender Commission and the Missouri Housing Trust Fund, among others.
Statewide, the association has “task forces” which are committees that tackle issues like criminal justice, economic justice, hunger, human rights and mental health.
Aside from supporting those task forces, Wildman said the local chapter would identify local needs and issues to support.
Wildman said the strength of MASW comes from its chapters. With the addition of Cape Girardeau, MASW now has seven chapters..
“The citizenship advocacy comes from the members of those chapters,” Wildman added.
The plan is to open two others chapters in the Southeast Missouri region, one in the Bootheel and another in the Poplar Bluff area. Another chapter is currently opening in Springfield.
Wildman explained that last year, Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of MASW, pointed out that the group was too “I-70 oriented” with chapters in St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City. The organization’s leadership decided to change that and focus on other areas.
Thursday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and anybody who is interested in social welfare is welcome to attend.
“I would just encourage anyone who has an interest or even a curiosity about what MASW is about to come by the Cape Public Library Thursday night at 6 and see what is going on,” said Wildman.
One of the activities on its schedule will be to elect a board of directors. One of the members of that board will automatically be on the state board, which help keep the local chapter aware of what is happening statewide.