Megan Hope, MSW ’11, Latinx Social Work Certificate
Advocating for vulnerable adults in immigrant detention
Social justice is no passing interest for alumna Megan Hope. It’s been the focus of her career for more than 20 years. In 1996, Hope spent the apple harvest season coordinating health, legal and social services for migrant farmworkers in Missouri. Today she’s the Social Service Project Director at the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), a nonprofit provider of free immigration legal assistance to immigrant children throughout Colorado and to adults in immigration detention.
At RMIAN, Hope oversees behavioral health support, legal case support and post-release planning for vulnerable adults in immigration detention, including people with mental illness and survivors of violence. In 2016, The U.S. Department of Justice accredited Hope as a Board of Immigration Appeals legal representative, which allows her to represent clients before the immigration courts, appeals board and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau. She conducts know-your-rights presentations to detained immigrant adults and does intake screening to determine eligibility for legal relief and possible matching with volunteer attorneys.
A focus on social justice — plus a Latinx Social Work Certificate option and competitive financial aid package — drew Hope to the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), where she focused her MSW on organizational leadership and policy practice. She says the school prepared her for her current role with a mix of clinical and macro social work classes. “Even though my concentration was community practice, I was given the flexibility to swap out some requirements to take more clinical content, which I had less experience in,” Hope says. “The Latinx Certificate program strengthened my ability to work conscientiously and effectively with clients of Latin American origin — and by extension, to be more thoughtful about my work with people of many different nationalities and cultures.”
And, Hope adds, “GSSW also taught me a great deal about power, privilege and oppression and how essential being mindful of these dynamics is to ethical social work practice and action for social justice.”
“The Graduate School of Social Work taught me a great deal about power, privilege and oppression and how essential being mindful of these dynamics is to ethical social work practice and action for social justice.” — Megan Hope, MSW ’11, Latinx Social Work Certificate ’11, Social Service Project Director, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network