The new and retooled Advocacy Lab is for those who could imagine working in national or local advocacy organizations that make change happen or anyone who wants to understand the art of issue advocacy as a theory and method of social change. An advocacy campaign attempts to impact public policy, most often through changes in regulations and/or legislation. There are a wide range of roles campaign workers can play from research and policy analysis to education, public relations and organizing constituencies to reaching out to a wide range of influential, legislators and other government officials. At the same time, the skills of public advocacy– listening, finding areas of consensus and building on that consensus, finding ways to make change happen – are skills that can be applied to all professional and life settings.
The advocacy campaign for our class will support the development and launch of JustLeadershipUSA, led by Glenn Martin of the Fortune Society. This will be a new and unique national nonpartisan leadership and advocacy organization with a clear and deliberately ambitious long-term goal: to reduce the number of people in prison by half by the year 2030. The course will begin with intensive training – approximately 14 hours in the first two weeks – so that you can jump directly into launching an advocacy campaign with JustLeadershipUSA. The class will then meet periodically over the semester to check-in and meet with the JustLeadershipUSA team and key leaders and thinkers in the criminal justice reform world as well as with prosecutors, judges and political leaders. The course will provide an overview of and training in how to affect public policy through advocacy campaigns, legislative lobbying, issue branding, coalition building and community organizing in the United States This is not simulation, but the real thing.
There are no prerequisites – only a passion for social justice.