The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri stands with advocates across the country working to eliminate injustice and inequity, both within our criminal justice system and throughout other foundations of our society like our education system. We are deeply troubled by the senseless killing of George Floyd and the history of racism and discrimination that has created divisions in our country for decades. We stand in support of all of us coming together to play an active role in righting these wrongs and creating a better future for our children.
Anyone who has watched the protests across the country over the past week might recognize the common chant of “This is what democracy looks like,” but after years of advocacy work, we at CEAM know that while taking to the streets and protesting is a great way to raise awareness it is only the first step to achieving real change.
So after the protests end, what is the next step?
CEAM’s work to improve education for children across Missouri has taught us that creating lasting change is not something that will happen in one weekend or even in one month. Real, lasting improvements come from policy changes, whether through court victories or the passage of new legislation and achieving those victories requires year-round efforts to learn about, and engage in, sustained advocacy efforts.
Policy change is not easy. It requires compromise. It requires working with people you may disagree with on other issues. It requires understanding the political process and knowing when telling your story can make a difference.
This is what democracy really looks like, and it is why CEAM has worked so hard over the years to develop an advocacy training program to help families we work with make a real difference.
Our training program is focused on education efforts but is applicable to any advocacy efforts. It teaches advocates how to tell their stories and how those stories can help move legislation forward, how to navigate the legislative process in Missouri, how to grow a movement on social media, and how to talk to members of traditional media to amplify messages.
We help advocates get to the capitol in Jefferson City and develop lasting relationships with legislators both at the capitol and in their own communities, write letters to elected officials and newspapers, and speak at public hearings.
Democracy takes work, but CEAM is here to help. Please feel free to reach out and let us know if we can help you be more involved in the political process.