Empowering Advocates: The Impact of LIFT’s Inaugural Policy & Advocacy Trainings

This October, LIFT offered our first-ever Policy & Advocacy Trainings for LIFT members! These training sessions will hone the advocacy skills of our members and alumni, empowering them to directly influence policy and build connections between members and alumni who are committed to making a direct impact on their communities.  

Advocacy 101 

Forty-seven members of the LIFT community, including parents, staff, coaches, and partners, participated in Advocacy 101 where LIFT’s National Director of Policy & Advocacy Khadijah Williams led participants through the policymaking cycle and how both individuals and coalitions can effectively advocate for change. The central message of this training was grounded in the knowledge of how every one of the participants is already an advocate – for themselves, their families, and their communities.  

DC Policy Process 

Twenty-five members of the LIFT community, United Planning Organization, and Bright Beginnings joined our first DC Policy Process Session. Fair Budget Coalition’s Katherine Landfield and LIFT DC’s Executive Director, Niels Ribeiro-Yemofio led the session, which focused on summarizing DC’s legislative cycle and brainstorming steps to achieving upcoming policy priorities. The impact of this session is best expressed by our members. One member stated, ” I’m ready to go.” Another member expressed “we are going to be the voice of the community…some of us are going to be sitting in those [council] chairs!” 

Our Policy & Advocacy efforts have already started to pay off! Khadijah Williams and LIFT-DC member Mellie Harris joined Mothers Outreach Network’s Guaranteed Income Coalition last week to discuss barriers to childcare and the importance of a guaranteed income to provide access to quality childcare. 

Childcare is a fundamental human right – families who have access to high quality, affordable childcare not only have the space and capacity to pursue careers, education, and self-care, but also enable their children to develop strong socioemotional skills, learn critical skills necessary for success in school, and connect and build bonds with peers. Unfortunately, current policies don’t prioritize access to quality childcare, particularly for families facing poverty, as parents struggle to find affordable childcare options that fit their needs.  

It’s critical we continue to create and cultivate spaces like the space created by the Guaranteed Income Coalition, allowing for further discussions on policies that directly impact our members. Together, we can help ensure that common sense policies are implemented to ensure all thrive, regardless of race or zip code. 

Childcare is but one of several critical family issues that LIFT will partner with LIFT members to provide insight, as we continue our commitment to elevate members as the experts on these pressing policy issues. LIFT is excited to continue the training series and other programming through next summer with the ultimate goal of supporting parent-members like Mellie in becoming leaders, advocates, and decision-makers in their communities, cities, states, and country.