Uniting for Change encourages all self-advocates in Georgia to participate in Georgia's annual legislative session. We also believe that to make real, sustainable change, advocacy work is a year-round commitment.
Below is some helpful information about how to stay involved.
August Recess Toolkit
Every August, members of Congress return back to their states and districts. This is a great time to engage with your elected officials. The Arc developed a free advocacy toolkit with resources, tools and helpful how to's when it comes to educating members of Congress about issues impacting people with disabilities and their families.
A key part of advocacy is building meaningful relationships with your elected officials - at the local, state and federal levels. Whether you are new to advocacy, or need a quick refresher, we have some tips that we hope help guide you!
Do Your Research
Before you contact your legislator to set up a meeting, make sure you know who you need to meet with.
Schedule a meeting
Your elected officials are busy. It’s important to take the time and reach out to schedule a meeting with them. When you introduce yourself, make sure you tell them that you are one of their constituents and provide a brief description of the issue you would like to discuss. Don’t know where to meet? Get creative! Ask them for coffee, invite them to a community event (outside of session), grab a meal together. There are lots of ways you can get together.
Before your meeting, it’s a good idea to jot down some key talking points for your conversation. Keep things simple. They don’t have a lot of time, so it’s key to have a clear message. Anticipate some questions they might ask you and what your answers might be. Maybe practice your elevator pitch with a friend.
It’s Show Time!
Remember to dress for success whether your meeting is face to face in person or on ZOOM. If you’re able to, try to get to the meeting spot early. Be respectful, use your time wisely, and stay on message. Do you have a business card? A flyer or pamphlet that highlights some of the key points about the issue you’re advocating on? It helps to give your legislator something to take with them to remember you.
Go the extra mile. Send them a quick thank you note - a little gratitude goes a long way.
Check out this graphic on the importance of creating a good elevator pitch including:
What it is, how it's used & why it's important
Key elements of a good pitch
Helpful hints to keep in mind
Uniting for Change wrote a letter to members of the Georgia General Assembly to introduce who we are as and what self-advocates want in Georgia!