On October 30, PYM Friends gathered for a workshop about lobbying and its place within the world of political advocacy. The workshop was facilitated by the Senior Director for Quaker Leadership, Alicia McBride, from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). For twenty years, Alicia has worked in multiple roles with FCNL . She’s a member of Sandy Spring Meeting, part of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting footprint. She was joined by Deb Hejl, member and Friend of Gwynedd Meeting, who has been actively involved with FCNL for a quarter century and serves as a PYM representative to FCNL.
The workshop began by engaging participants in a conversation about the role of political advocacy in Quaker history and faith. During the latter part of the event, the conversation focused on how to lobby effectively as a Friend. FCNL has long held a comprehensive, spiritually based and relationship-centered approach which provides a strong foundation for Friends who are both seasoned lobbyists or may be engaging in lobbying for the first time. Throughout the session, Alicia graciously shared a number of resources and upcoming events for Friends interested in lobbying including:
- PYM’s own book of Faith & Practice which encourages Friends to be actively engaged in civic society as a way of expressing their faith.
- Four Roles of Social Change Movements (based on work by Bill Moyers):
- A Theological Perspective on Quaker Lobbying, by Margery Post Abbott
- The lobby visit roadmap
- The upcoming “Intro to Advocacy with FCNL” workshop, taking place on December 7 from 8-9pm ET. This will go into more detail on what we talked about in the workshop. And, if you’re inspired to lobby right now, FCNL’s Quaker Public Policy Institute and Annual Meeting is coming up November 15-19, in Washington, DC and online. You can sign up just for the lobbying portion, November 15-17, or come for the whole meeting – PYM General secretary will be there the whole weekend!
- Information on FCNL Advocacy Teams:- scroll down the page to see the map of where we have teams right now!
- Advocacy Resources – an index of many how-to guides on effective lobbying and advocacy. I want to highlight particularly the resource on the different ways to tell an effective story.
While the conversation mostly focused on in-person lobbying, Friends were also encouraged and empowered to write personalized letters and emails members of Congress as an additional option which can also have an influence – especially when included as part of a larger effort to focus Congress on a piece of legislation. FCNL offers a number of sample messages Friends can edit and send directly from the FCNL website – or write your own message.
If interested in finding out more about how to lobby, Friends are encouraged to reach out to Deb Hejl. For Friends who may have questions or would like to share their own lobbying experiences with FCNL, contact Alicia.
We are incredibly thankful to Friends for attending last month’s FCNL Lobbying workshop and to Alicia for leading! Together, PYM Friends will carry on the long tradition of Quakers making an impact by asking our government to do better.