Tips for Activists from the New York City Experience
By all accounts, New York City afterschool and child care advocates succeeded in fending off proposed cuts by channeling anger and passion into activism. Some lessons from their campaign:
- Forge partnerships. Afterschool and child care advocates refused to be drawn into a fight with each other over scarce resources. Instead, they worked together to defend the interests of children.
- Make noise. Advocates used all available means to turn up the volume, surrounding policy makers with their message in person, in the media, on social media and online.
- Be creative. Advocates conducted vigils at City Hall, and a Lights Off Afterschool rally to make sure their message broke through.
- Mobilize parents and students. Some of the campaign’s most effective messengers were the people with the most to lose.
- Get social. Twitter and Facebook were invaluable tools in reaching out to parents, students, the media and policy makers.
- Don’t overlook traditional media. Print and broadcast outlets latched onto the story and elevated its prominence.
- Tell stories. Thousands of children and families stood to lose from the proposed cuts; advocates made sure their stories were heard.
This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 7).
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