The final day of our annual advocacy summit, Persistent Hope, is your chance to meet face-to-face with your Congresspersons and advocate for peace in the Middle East! While this is an exciting opportunity, it can also be daunting. So what does a Lobby Day look like? Learn more and then register for Persistent Hope!
1. Your story matters
No matter who you meet with, it's important to share your background and why you are passionate about just policies in the Middle East. Last year, we advocated in the House for Rep. Betty McCollum's legislation, Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, and some of the most impactful stories were from individuals who had never even been to Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). A nurse shared how trauma impacts children, which is why she is passionate about ending mistreatment of children around the world. Sharing your story can be incredibly compelling, because it spotlights why you care, and therefore, why they should care, too.
2. They are excited to meet with you
Members of Congress are on Capitol Hill to represent you, their constituent, and hearing from you helps keep them aware of issues their constituents are passionate about. Even if you can’t vote, or didn’t vote for the legislator currently in office, you are still a constituent, and therefore your opinion matters to the legislator’s office. It’s fine to feel nervous, but it is critical to remember that you have a voice and are empowered to speak. Although you may be meeting with a staffer, not a legislator, your meeting is still important, and it's wise not to underestimate the influence of their staff! They are educated, well-informed, and help direct your member of Congress' decision-making process.If you can get the staffer invested in your issues and your goals, you’ll have a voice inside the legislator’s office advocating with you.
3. You don't need to have all the answers.
It's okay to say "I don't know" if a legislator or staff member asks you a question that you don't know the answer to! Simply reply that you are not sure of that answer, offer to get an answer and follow up with that answer. Please also feel free to offer CMEP as a resource if you do not know a specific answer. Just be sure to share the question with us so we can be sure to follow up! It's far better than providing misinformation and actually provides a great opportunity to continue the conversation after you have returned home. In fact, one of the most important aspects of a lobby day is the follow-up.
And of course, CMEP's staff and volunteer team will be by your side as you go to your meetings. We'll have trainings throughout Persistent Hope to help you prepare to advocate so that you go into the meetings confident and excited to share and we will have talking points and materials to help guide your meeting.
Please join us in advocating for justice and peace for all people of the Middle East and be a part of our Advocacy Summit and celebrating Persistent Hope!