Success Stories from Some AAUW Lobby Stars
As we in the advocacy-minded world all know, battles around issues like pay equity, bullying and harassment in schools, and paid sick days come at us in all kinds of realms and we have to be creative about how we tackle these problems.
What’s a concerned AAUW member to do? Without a doubt, the answer is to take action. When citizens take action together, we are more powerful than the opposition!
Here are some recent examples of members realizing their powerful potential through legislative days and lobby days:
Janet Larkin, president-elect for the AAUW Scottsdale (AZ) Branch, shares her story:
On February 7, AAUW of Arizona held a legislative day at the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix. Arizona members awoke in the wee hours to make the trip from Prescott, the Southeast Valley, and beyond. We gathered in the old Senate chamber on the third floor of the historic Capitol building. It was full when Jane Adrian, AAUW of Arizona State Public Policy Chair, greeted us. “Organizing this has been one of the highlights of my life!” she said. “Taking the risk has been incredible!” Adrian introduced former Sen. Carolyn Allen (R-AZ), who energized us by asking, “Who owns the Capitol? Well you do! Don’t be afraid; let them hear you. Make your presence known.” AAUW CEO Linda Hallman, CAE, caught us up on projects like women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; pay equity; the history of the State Lobby Corps; and more.
Throughout the day, members learned the best ways to “reach” legislators. We learned that a personal touch is by far the best approach (i.e. telling legislators why you care personally about your issue, in addition to the facts). By the end we acknowledged that we still have a lot of work to do, but all in all it was a wonderful, educational day!
Amy Blackwell, AAUW of Colorado public policy co-director and volunteer lobbyist, shares her story:
During the month of February, I guided several AAUW Colorado Springs (CO) Branch members through the state capitol to advocate for an AAUW Colorado priority bill with their legislators and to observe Senate and House proceedings.
A highlight from AAUW at the Colorado Capitol:
On Friday, an AAUW member had an appointment with her senator, who agreed to meet her outside the Senate chamber door before the morning’s session began. The constituent waited politely until the senator was five minutes late. As the clock ticked on, she approached the sergeant-at-arms for assistance. The senator was already in the chamber, and the sergeant-at-arms asked him three times to keep the appointment. Despite the initial dodge, constituent and senator had a quick yet fruitful discussion wherein the AAUW member verified her constituent status and asked for support of a Colorado family and medical leave bill (HB13-1222), which would expand the range of persons for which a covered employee could take caretaking leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act. Her senator left favorably impressed by her concise “ask” complete with an HB13-1222 factsheet in hand. It was truly wonderful for our members to come together with legislators on common-ground issues and advance equity for women and girls.
This post was written by AAUW State Grassroots Advocacy Manager Kimberly Fountain.