Last week, was You’re the Cure Virtual Lobby Week in the Southwest Region. This inaugural event was created to provide advocates a traditional lobby day experience in a virtual environment.
The event kicked off on Monday with advocacy training to prepare everyone for the actions they would be asked to take throughout the week. During the training advocates heard from AHA leaders about the various technology being used and got more in-depth information on the policy issues we are working on. We all were inspired by survivor and longtime advocate Keturah White from Arkansas who talked about her own personal experiences advocating with the American Heart Association and how she felt her advocacy experiences had helped shape policy. Then Texas State Representative Dr. Tom Oliverson wrapped things up by speaking about how constituents from his district had shared their stories with him and the powerful impact that made.
Then advocates were provided a series of actions to make an impact in their state. Our first action for the week was tweeting support for our policy priorities to state lawmakers. Day two was all about making your emails count and advocates were encouraged to customize their letters to their legislators. Our second day also included special messaging on social media to engage new advocates.
By mid-week we moved on to developing and sharing our personal stories with lawmakers. Sharing our own experience helps us create that special connection to our lawmakers, it brings issues to life and really helps grab attention. Advocates shared their story in multiple formats including via email or on social media.
Now advocates were ready for a high touch action with their lawmakers. On Thursday everyone made phone calls to their lawmakers to urge support for top issues in their state.
Our first virtual lobby week was a success, and it was fantastic seeing so many of our advocates from across the Southwest Region join us, get involved and make an impact!