Thousands of FCNL volunteer lobbyists from Florida to Alaska visited Congressional offices last year to lobby respectfully and in a non-partisan manner for the world we seek. You advocated to support sentencing reform, to support legislation to prevent atrocities, to oppose U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, and to prevent cuts to the food stamps program.
Several of the resulting bills passed Congress and were signed into law, and others are moving policy without becoming law. For example, the Senate passed a historic resolution on Yemen, essentially re-establishing Congress’s constitutional authority to declare war and putting pressure that is driving peace talks that could end that war.Your work—whether as Quaker advocates, members of FCNL Advocacy Teams, or as an FCNL Advocacy Corps organizer—made a major difference during the 115th Congress.
“You changed my mind,” one member of Congress told FCNL advocates recently. He praised them for their persistence, their letters to the editor, and their respectful engagement with his office. Not all our advocates heard such dramatic words, but many received thanks for their efforts.
“You all do advocacy just right,” staff for a Republican senator told another team. Throughout the year, FCNL’s volunteer network of advocates kept hearing thanks for their engagement with Congress.
FCNL’s 97 Advocacy Teams alone logged 286 lobby visits and published nearly 200 letters to the editor around the country in 2018. But most importantly, they secured Congressional co-sponsorship of legislation that pushed back against dangerous threats of U.S. military action against North Korea.
Those numbers don’t include the nearly 600 people that FCNL’s Advocacy Corps brought into Congressional offices last year. These local organizers, mostly students, advocated on climate change and then against the militarization of local police.
Late last year, Advocacy Corps organizer Micajah Daniels persuaded the entire student body at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to pass a resolution opposing the Pentagon program that gives equipment designed for war to local police departments. Other organizers in Arizona and Florida worked with local Quakers to organize lobby visits against police militarization.
Several Advocacy Corps organizers also used the mid-term election to raise issues with candidates running for office, many of whom are now members of the new 116th Congress. Through FCNL’s Quaker advocacy program, we organized three separate meet-the-candidate events to put our issues on the agenda for candidates. running for office.
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), addressing a recent conference call of FCNL Advocacy Teams, reflected on the importance of FCNL’s work. “Thank all of you for all the work that you do to advance peace and justice. I just don’t know what we would do without FCNL and your advocacy. Your work is remarkable; we are making progress thanks to you.”