This article was originally published by CultureWork: A Periodic Broadside for Arts and Culture Workers, in January 2016. CultureWork is a publication of The Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy at the University of Oregon. The following blog post is an abbreviated version.
The idea that advocacy should be a daily activity, and not just something that is reserved for once-a-year visits to the State Capitol, hit home for me a few years ago. An enthusiastic constituent made the trek to Madison from a small town on the Mississippi River—a trip of at least four hours each way—to attend Arts Day. At the end of the day, she told me that she had had a great time learning and networking but didn’t get a chance to visit with her legislator. She said, "I'll come back to Madison one of these days to meet with him." My response was, "Well, he'll be home this weekend, and every weekend, so why don't you just call him up and meet for coffee at a local café?" That's when I realized…there's a misconception out there that advocacy is something separate from life, that you have to make a special effort and drive a long way to meet with your legislator to be part of the civic discourse.Read More