“We are gearing up for Advocacy Day on March 5, but advocacy can happen all throughout the year, and can take many forms,” Amy O’Leary says.

That’s the advice Amy shared yesterday during Advocacy 101, a webinar sponsored by Strategies for Children. A video of the webinar is posted here.

Called “If Not Us, Then Who?”, the webinar is the first installment in what will be a series put together by Amy, Strategies’ director of the Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, our director of research and policy.

Advocacy, Amy says in the webinar, has many faces. It can mean testifying at the State House or talking to your Uber driver. It can mean being out front or working behind the scenes.

One strategy? Speak up where you feel comfortable.

Another strategy: know who the decision-makers are, from state officials to members of Congress. The webinar includes names and photographs of key state and federal officials.

The webinar also features information on the Massachusetts budget season and on how the low salaries early educators have created a shortage of badly needed early education and care teachers and providers.

The webinar series will specifically prepare people for this spring’s “Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs” at the State House, on Thursday morning, March 5, 2020., when advocates can meet with their representatives to talk about the importance of investing in young children.

However, as Amy says, “You do not have to come to Boston to be part of advocacy day.” Emails, letters, and phone calls can also be effective. Or if you are out and about on other days and run into an elected official — say Governor Charlie Baker or early education and care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy – thank them for their hard work and talk about how much more progress Massachusetts can make.

For homework, Amy asked everyone watching the webinar to go to www.wheredoivotema.com to learn who their representatives are.

Amy also stressed the importance of making sure everyone is counted during Census 2020. This is crucial. In 2010, Massachusetts lost a congressional representative due to redistricting.

One more act of advocacy that you can do: Please nominate early educators who we can feature on our blog’s “Voices from the Field” series.

Amy’s most important advocacy tip: “We cannot be intimidated by the process.”

So please check out the webinar video and be sure to participate in future webinars. Work with your contacts and networks to develop advocacy plans and projects. And help us keep this important work going. To learn more or ask questions, contact Titus at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org or (617) 330-7387.

As Amy says:

“We know that our advocacy cannot start or end on March 5th. We are going to need a continued presence both in the districts and at the State House to make sure that people know that we care about these issues.”