Legislature 101: A how-to for Being Heard

by GrAdTaComa
Testifying and speaking to legislators doesn’t have to be intimidating. This year, along with everything, testifying will be much different – and that’s a good thing. 
 
The ultimate goal for legislators is to reflect their district’s interests and the way they determine what those are is by hearing from you. Advocacy brings an issue to their attention and helps them understand the scope of that issue. While we can assume that there will be options for remote involvement during the upcoming session, we don’t know exactly what that looks like. Regardless, this is the year to connect policy to people and people to process. Systems transformation work requires us to unveil the policies, practices, and beliefs that hold back marginalized communities and to name the challenges they face in the context of systems that are beyond their control. 
 
Last month, we held the first of four advocacy development sessions to help prepare you and your organization to be effective advocates.  The full webinar is available below for your reference and learnings. During the live webinar, we learned how to: 
 

FRAME YOUR MESSAGE

If you want to be heard, show up with solutions, real examples and statistics, and a willingness to work together. Connect policy to people and people to the process.

DELIVER IT EVERY CHANCE YOU GET

Whether it’s during a public hearing, letters and emails to your legislators, lobbying days and scheduled visits, leave-behind documents, or social media — reaching legislators is more accessible now than ever before.

BUILD WORKING RELATIONSHIPS

Legislators are community members. They don’t have all the answers and their desire is to know what their district wants. They need trusted supporters and advisers who they can rely on for accurate data and stories from real constituents. Build a relationship with them by showing that you’re willing and able to brainstorm solutions and find people who are connected to the policy.  

THANK YOUR LAWMAKERS

A big part of building relationships with legislators is thanking them and their staff. Very few people take the time to reach out and thank lawmakers and their staff for their time, attention or advocacy and it’s an easy way to make a strong impression. 
 
 
For more opportunities to develop your advocacy skills, RSVP to our next professional development webinar, Shining the Spotlight: The Power of Story, where we’ll help you tell your organization’s story in a compelling way to enact positive social change.
 
In addition to upcoming webinars, we are also offering bi-weekly virtual open office hours. Join us every other Wednesday, starting September 9, to ask policy, advocacy and communications related questions or request support for materials, actions or strategy. Drop in at any time after 9:30 AM via ZOOM.
 

COMMUNITY IN ACTION

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