Doña Ana County is holding a two-day policy advocacy training for community members in collaboration with the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice and their Empowerment Congress. The afternoon of August 7th, community members will participate in advocacy training workshops designed to build skills and confidence in advocating for health equity. That evening, youth Empowerment Congress members will host conversations with policy makers and screen a film about the education system. The following morning, the Empowerment Congress will hold its monthly meeting along with a fair showcasing the activities of its three committees, followed by a picnic. We hope HEP partners from around the state will make plans to join us! Benefits to you include honing your own policy advocacy strategies, gleaning ideas for conducting community engagement and policy advocacy training in your communities, and getting to know our inspiring community members. On August 7th, residents from across Doña Ana County improved their skills in advocating for health in their communities. Doña Ana County conducted the bilingual policy advocacy event in collaboration with the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice. Joining local residents were representatives of 1 Santa Fe, San Juan Community , and the NMHEP team. Participants explored the differences between advocacy and lobbying with speakers from the Center for Civic Policy, practiced crafting and delivering their own advocacy messages and heard tips from local policy makers on how to be effective advocates.
One attendee wrote, “I got lots of ideas for ways to be positively and actively engaged!” Another shared, “Me gustó mucho el conocer gente nueva y saber que toda esta gente está en un mismo canal, o sea, interesada en hacer cambios” (“I liked getting to know new people and learning that everyone here is tuned to the same channel; in other words, interested in making changes.”)
Attendees also participated in an Empowerment Congress (EC) meeting the following day. The EC is a community engagement organization sponsored by Ocotillo Institute, and many EC members are members of the DAPM team.
DAC is continuing to build community capacity to advocate for health through its Participatory Mapping Advocacy Project initiative, which trains community members to map assets and challenges in their communities and to use that information to advocate for policy change.