Hundreds of young adult advocates from around the United States brought a clear and compelling message to Congress: interrupt violence by investing in programs to make our communities safer!
More than 300 advocates gathered in-person and online for Spring Lobby Weekend, March 25-28, 2023. We heard from powerful speakers about community-based efforts to disrupt cycles of violence and build peace. We discussed the stories we bring to our advocacy, practiced how to lobby, and learned about our policy ask: urging Congress to make our communities safer by dedicating at least $20 million in federal funding for violence interrupters in the FY2024 appropriations bill.
Building Bridges: Over four memorable days, people of different faiths, political perspectives, and more came together to build relationships and engage lawmakers.
Different Perspectives, One Goal: We heard from a wide range of speakers that a new approach is needed to address community violence. Members of Safe Streets Baltimore shared their personal experiences with interrupting violence and the power of peacebuilding driven by people from within communities. Marcus Ellis from Cities United explained how federal investments could grow the success of current violence interrupter programs. FCNL’s José Woss and Michya Cooper shared their policy expertise, connecting the work on the ground to the decisions facing Congress as lawmakers craft the upcoming year’s federal budget.
Insights from Rep. McGovern: Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), the Ranking Member of the powerful House Rules Committee, inspired us and called us to action, saying:
“Democracy is worth fighting for. It’s messy, it’s complicated, but don’t ever give up. Understand the importance of the work that you’re doing today. This is a movement, all of you coming up to talk about violence interrupters, it’s going to make an impression.”
Grounded By Our Quaker Faith: The action this week was consistently grounded by times of silent worship, workshops on Quaker advocacy, and our collective leading to work for peace.
More than One Way to Make Change: In addition to learning to lobby, participants explored other ways to be a part of the political process—including running for office, advocating through art, and pursuing careers in nonprofits or working for Congress.
Powerful Leadership by FCNL Alumni: This event has built an incredible alumni presence over eight years. Dozens of former FCNL Advocacy Corps members, interns, program assistants, and past Spring Lobby Weekend attendees were a driving force in planning, recruiting, and helping to lead this event!
Watch the Recordings