Learning How to Lobby by Telling Your Story: A Perspective

The National LCV’s Annual Young Leaders Lobby Day training was held earlier this month. NYLCV interns Molly Radwell and Raine Sroge Johnson attended the event along with 60 other young leaders from over 25 different states. The training was jam-packed with information sessions that helped provide the youth with the tools necessary for effective lobbying.

One of the many events scheduled was a workshop on how to tell one’s story in a compelling manner when meeting with policymakers. National LCV staff members led the workshop and began by sharing their stories and from there, writing packets filled with prompts were distributed which helped the youth better solidify their stories and relate them to public policy. Shortly after, everyone partnered up and got the chance to learn about one another’s personal motivations for lobbying. During this activity, Molly Radwell met Taitzion, a 19-year-old student from Maryland. Radwell said, “Talking to Taitzion not only inspired me with his passion and personal connection to a push for clean energy, but he helped me to frame my own story. He helped me see the role that the environment plays in my vision of relaxation, reflection, and building positive mental health.” After the participants collaborated with each other, they were given the opportunity to share their unique and inspiring stories with everyone.

Of the many stories shared, one young woman from Maryland revealed to the group that her mother was diagnosed with asthma due to the poor air quality in their community. Since they are immigrants and her mother spoke no English, she said that it had been particularly hard to deal with the respiratory condition. The young lady had become in charge of all of her mother’s hospital visits as well as translating. She told everyone that was her reason for fighting for clean energy. She wanted to ensure that fewer people in the future would develop pollution-related diseases. All of the stories shared were equally powerful and helped the young leaders gain a holistic sense of individuals’ personal fight for clean energy and clean car standards, and the reauthorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund.

The seminar helped teach our future leaders how to advocate productively through cohesive and compelling storytelling, which they were then able to utilize successfully during Lobby Day the following day. The skills and knowledge that the young leaders acquired during the training will stay with and help them in future policy-related endeavors.