Expert gives inside look at social work

Silence, story and song are tools for promoting social change, said a guest speaker addressing the TCU Justice and Advocacy Network. Anthony Nicotera, a public interest lawyer, social activist and community organizer, presented to a group of about 20 students Sunday evening, most of whom were involved in social justice organizations.

The TCU Justice and Advocacy Network, a group working to create social change on the campus and in the community, organized the workshop called “Thoughts and Tools for Creating Change.”

Angela Kaufman, minister to the university, works closely with TJAN and was the organizer of the workshop.

“We wanted to bring in someone who’s lived it, is living it, has done it or is doing it,” Kaufman said.

Nicotera, who has been arrested six times for nonviolent action and has worked with Mother Teresa, is now a social worker helping inner-city youth in Boston.

Nicotera said his main passions are conflict resolution and social justice.

He engaged the audience in group meditation, storytelling and singing to demonstrate tools that can be used to create social change and justice.

Stephanie Sherwood, a junior social work major and president of TCU’s branch of the Living Wage Movement, said she enjoyed the meditation exercise because it made her feel relaxed and made her focus.

Sherwood said she found Nicotera’s presentation interesting because she wants to pursue a career in his field.

“He made me realize how well-rounded you have to be as a social worker … to be able to empathize with and help people,” Sherwood said.

Courtney Goode, a sophomore international economics major and president of TCU’s Peace Action, said listening to Nicotera made her feel good about what she is doing to promote positive change.

“Social justice is my passion but I think our campus is somewhat apathetic when it comes to social issues,” Goode said.

Goode said she thinks students at TCU are more focused on what party they’ll go to on the weekend than the less fortunate people in the world.

Even though Nicotera admitted to the audience that these were not his words, he said, “We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb the world to peace.