Emmy winner, broadcaster visits UH, shares message for social workers
The Graduate College of Social Work Alumni Association held their annual fundraiser Wednesday night highlighted with Emmy-winner and broadcaster John Quiñones.
Dean of the Graduate College of Social Work Alan Dettlaff said that events like the fundraiser show that social work is more than just a job.
“There’s people that do social work for a living because they’re really passionate about issues of social justice and righting social injustices, but there’s people all over the world that aren’t social workers that are really passionate about that too,” Dettlaff said. “So we wanted to bring one of them to campus who’s really actively engaged in that kind of work in addressing injustices, which is really in line with what we do as a profession.”
The person for the job was keynote speaker John Quiñones, anchor of ABC’s hit show “What Would You Do?” and ABC news correspondent.
During his speech, Quiñones spoke of his journey from being a shoe-shining kid from San Antonio who only spoke Spanish and travelled with his family to pick cherries on a farm in Michigan and pick tomatoes in Ohio to being an Emmy-winning journalist on national TV.
Quiñones also mentioned a few of his most famous stories such as the story of him posing as an illegal immigrant and working with undocumented workers at a restaurant in Chicago, which eventually led to the government coming and shutting the restaurant down.
He also talked about his experience going to Columbia where he was going to cover the presidential election but ended up reporting a story about a group of abandoned children who would sleep in the sewers.
Quiñones also showed a clip from his show, “What Would You Do?” The show’s central message is to get people to speak up when they see something wrong.
“That’s what the show is all about,” Quiñones said. “Speaking up when you witness injustice. And the little voice in the back of your head says something, says do something. Do you step in or do you step away?”
Quiñones’ message showed how his journalism connects with social work, which he continuously referred to as God’s work. He says that as a journalist he tries to give a voice to people who have no voice because nobody sheds light on their situations.
Graduate College of Social Work Alumni Association President Deborah Elizondo-Brady said that Quiñones’ work is in line with what social workers do, which is giving a voice to people who don’t have one. She also said that the college is proud that he was willing to come speak for social workers.