Absolutely Awesome Advocacy

Advocacy , Education , Events

Girl Up club members with U.S. Rep. Don Beyer

By: Becca Bean, Teen Advisor
Advocacy is one of my favorite parts of Girl Up. I mean, how many activities that you’re a part of involve interacting with members of Congress to try to influence the U.S. government? Not many, I’d say. I get it – we’re not all Schoolhouse Rock or Hamilton nerds like yours truly (special shout out to all of my WiSci steministas) – but do you want to know the best part about advocacy? It’s for all of us!
As a part of the Teen Advisor Advocacy Committee, I want to help you discover your political power and then crank it up a notch. Some of the actions you can take include: emailing, calling, or writing a letter to your member of Congress. (Special bonus for social media stars who tweet @Congress or your senators and representative). These are awesome actions to take with your club members or structure a meeting around. This spring, Girl Up is calling on clubs to meet with their members of Congress at their offices.
In-district meetings are one of the most effective (and exciting!) forms of advocacy you can participate in. This involves actually sitting down with your member of Congress and/or a member of their staff to talk about the issue face to face. Our goal is to have clubs all over the country having meetings the week of April 10-21  to show our collective impact. This will add on to the momentum we’ve created on National Call-In days this year, when Girl Up Clubs made 590 calls to Congress. After all, together we are stronger.
Your first step is setting up the meeting which can be done by visiting your representative’s website and looking for a contact phone number or email. Persistence is key and congressional offices are busy– feel free to send multiple messages or contact Girl Up if needed. In the Girl Up Community, there’s a dedicated chat thread to keep Girl Up updated on your progress or challenges scheduling an in-district meeting.
After that, grab a couple of club members and rehearse your talking points surrounding the issue of educating refugee girls and cuts to the foreign assistance budget. It’s also a great idea to download the Girl Up Advocacy App which contains a wealth of information just for our cause. Once the big day comes, arrive on time, be polite and relax – as your representative, it is their job to listen to your thoughts. When the meeting is over, don’t forget to leave behind additional information on the legislation and submit an activity report with Girl Up!
Tune into the Girl Up Advocacy webinar on Wednesday, March 22 at 8pm EST to learn more about in-district meetings. You’ll be able to find the link to join in the Girl Up Community.

Don’t forget to hashtag #GirlsWhoLobby and tag @GirlUp and your representative when you post pictures of your advocacy!

Best of luck, you got this!

Becca Bean is a 2016-2017 Girl Up Teen Advisor.