Peace Lobby Weekend

Posted on March 30, 2011 by

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Two weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Peace Lobby Weekend in Washington, DC that was orchestrated by National Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Over the course of the weekend, we received education and training on how to lobby for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, cuts to the Pentagon budget, and improved veterans’ care. The weekend’s events culminated on Tuesday, March 22, when all of us met with our respective  Senators and Representatives  and practiced our new-found peacemaking skills.

CFPA sent a delegation of 9 members to DC on Tuesday, and we had an extremely productive day of meetings! The entire report can be found here at our website. However, what I wanted to emphasize in this blog is how valuable the experience of lobbying was for me, and also how valuable it is to be connected to a community of activists such as the one that I was privileged to meet this weekend.

Lobbying is at once an empowering and challenging experience. When meeting with a member of Congress, you are compelled to package your argument in a concise, persuasive manner, and ideally you’re asking for a specific action to be taken. For example, on March 22, we asked our Representatives to endorse HR 651, which would put a SOFA Agreement in place for Afghanistan. This legislation would be a very concrete step to ending the war, and by lobbying for that legislation, CFPA became an integral part of that process. Therefore, lobbying is not simply practice in persuasion; lobbying is a call to action!

Finally, if anyone reading this has not attended one of the annual Peace Lobby weekends or a Lobby Day, I strongly encourage you to do so! For me, being part of a community of so many diverse activists was just as valuable an experience as lobbying itself. Our group was comprised of college students, Iraq Veterans, and military family members. The collaborative energy was extremely vibrant, and we all had something to learn from one another. After that weekend, I went home from DC feeling that I was not at all alone in my work for peace! I am part of a diverse, committed movement that has a strong history and will surely continue to have a strong future

 

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Posted in: Political Work