On Sunday, Feb. 26th, 2017 the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Phoenix held a “Speaking to Legislators Workshop”. This workshop was one of many events happening for the National Peace Corps Association’s (NPCA) “National Days of Action“. The workshop was presented by Alexandria Dreher, MSW, RPCV Azerbaijan 2009-2012 – the Advocacy Coordinator for RPCVs of Phoenix and hosted by Skye Lucking, RPCV Samoa 2004-2006, the RPCV of Phoenix Board President.
This workshop was one of many steps the RPCV Phoenix group has taken to become a more politically active and vocal group. The NPCA National Days of action, which advocates for a stronger and better Peace Corps, fell right in line with these efforts.
RPCV Phoenix is actively working to schedule meetings with Arizona legislators (or their staffers) to advocate for the Peace Corps during these days of action (March 3rd-15th). The workshop was held to prepare for these meetings.
Key components of the workshop included:
- Introduction of participants
- A discussion of what lobbying is
- Breakdown of reasons why we lobby
- Review principles of effective lobbying (which included the infographic below created by RPCV Phoenix)
- Quick brainstorm on participants Peace Corps story (Share your Peace Corps proudest moment? or Why is Peace Corps important to our nation?)
- Review of our ‘target’ or person we’re looking to speak with using the information provided by the NPCA Advocacy Tool Kits
- Review of the NPCA ‘talking points and asks’ which include:
- Peace Corps funding
- PC health legislation
- Strong international affairs budget
- Role playing: The group is meeting with a legislator or staffer, telling their story, and giving ‘the ask’.
This workshop was a terrific precursor and preparation for the meetings with legislators to speak about Peace Corps advocacy as well other political topics in which returned Peace Corps volunteers want to raise our voices and concerns. At the end of the workshop members discussed the game plan for when we meet with legislators (meetings yet to be scheduled) which included having another pre-meeting before the event.
Many attendees of the workshop commented that they felt empowered with the knowledge of how to contact and communicate with their lawmakers. They also felt ‘not so alone’ in their frustration with current political events.
The materials included in this workshop were:
- Meetings with your Legislators Workshop slides (in PDF Format – email RPCV Phoenix for a PowerPoint Version)
- Asks and Talking Points (PDF)
- 10 Principles of Effective Lobbying Infographic (PDF)