You may find it odd that policy advocacy is under community engagement and not in the policy circle. A policy is difficult to pass and enforce without engaging your community at every step of the process. The Čaŋlí Coalition has always stated that a policy will only be as strong as the community support behind it. This section fits nicely with the Raise Awareness section. The raising awareness section seeks to educate the public about the issue at hand, but this section covers advocating for a policy that will address the issue of concern.
- Establish a deep lineup of advocates from all walks of life. Refer to Coalition Recruitment.
- Consider who/what is sacred and respected in your community and include that in your advocacy.
- Empower multiple generations (youth to elders) and all subpopulations (LGBTQ, low income, women, etc.) to know their voice is important.
- Prepare advocates to share why they support the policy and relevant statistics.
- Ask volunteers to engage specific stakeholders.
An advocate struggles to influence a stakeholder.
- Don’t give up! Approach them with a different perspective, at a different time, or with a different person. Maybe they were just having a bad day, had other priorities on their mind, or need to hear it from someone else. The key is to find their passion area for the issue at hand.
An advocate is not comfortable or too busy to approach a stakeholder in person.
- That’s ok. They can still make a phone call, send a letter, email, or private message on social media.
- No matter what stage you are at—trying to pass a policy, trying to enforce a policy, or trying to defend a policy—take on the responsibility to make sure your community knows the basics of the policy. See regular reminders on tips to keep the policy at the forefront of your community’s mind.
- If you have proof your community supports the policy (e.g. data, personal testimonies, letters of support, or signatures) share this publicly!
Čaŋlí Coalition Example
Watch a video from empowered CRST youth advocates who spoke up to defend the threatened Smoke-Free Air Ordinance they helped pass.
To include cultural lifeways, we… made sure we had advocates who were considered sacred to the Lakota, such as children and elders, because their words and opinions are the most powerful.