The Office of Public Witness invites you to organize and formalize a Grassroots Advocacy Team to engage your congregants and community members in the creation of public policy and the advancement of a prophetic agenda to benefit all God’s people and creation.
Building an Advocacy Team
In many of your congregations, you may already have a social witness ministry, a social justice committee or a collection of people dedicated to justice work. The Office of Public Witness invites you to organize and formalize a Grassroots Advocacy Team to engage your congregants and community members in the creation of public policy and the advancement of a justice agenda in 2018 and beyond.
What does an Advocacy Team do?
As a member of an Advocacy Team, you commit to having a relationship with your team, your members of Congress, and The Office of Public Witness over a period of at least a year. We support your team with action alerts, team building and organizing resources, and issue briefs through out the year.
Here are some suggestions for establishing a team:
- Ten or so people (but even fewer is a fine start!) who are geographically nearby ideally in the same congressional district- ideally in the same congregation but not necessarily.
- A commitment from those people to devote time each month to challenging racism, xenophobia, environmental degradation, war mongering and economic exclusion which harms God’s people and God’s good creation.
How Do I Recruit People to Take Action?
Most people are moved to take action through individual conversations. Here are some tips for having successful conversations to inspire people to take action with your group. These conversations often happen one on one. Note: look for people who are already in leadership roles: who is organizing the weekly coffee hour? Who is leading informal political discussions after service?
Additional Grassroots Advocacy Resources
There are four larger Congregation-Based Community Organizing networks and two smaller ones that support local interfaith or ecumenical coalitions across the country. The networks provide training opportunities for congregations and organizers, and facilitate work among the local coalitions. There are many valuable resources on their web pages.
- Direct Action and Research Training Center(DART): 21 organizations in eight states, primarily in the Midwest and Florida, based in Miami.
- Gamaliel Foundation: 44 affiliates and seven state offices in 17 states, based in Chicago.
- Industrial Areas Foundation(IAF): 57 affiliates in 23 states, based in Chicago.
- People Improving Communities through Organizing(PICO): 44 federations and eight statewide networks in 17 states, based in Oakland, California. Also works in rural areas.
- Intervalley Project: 6 affiliates in New England, based in Newton, Massachusetts.
- Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), based in San Francisco.
Workshops and Curriculum:
- Public Narrative & Story of Self workshop slides (PDF, 20 pages)
- Building Bridges, Building Power: Developments in Institution-Based Community Organizing (PDF, 34 pages)
- There is Power in Union: A Unitarian Universalist Guide to Supporting Worker Justice (PDF, 18 pages)
- Sustainable Action: Planting the Seeds of Relational Organizing (PDF, 7 pages)
- 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp