1. Update

Passing the Torch

My experience helping train the next class of Advocacy Corps organizers

By Sergio Mata, August 17, 2018

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to help train the newest cohort of Advocacy Corps organizers from all around the country. This year cohort will be organizing their communities for the next ten months to lobby Congress to stop the militarization of police.

Being able to be part of this ten-day training known as the Washington Summer Intensive was an inspiring experience because I got the opportunity to share the skills and tools that I have learned through my involvement with FCNL.

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My journey in activism began when I attended Spring Lobby Weekend in the spring of 2016. I was invited by an Advocacy Corps organizer from my college, along with 29 other students. It was my first time in Washington, DC, and I did not know what to expect. But after the four-day conference, I had learned that I had a voice that I could use to advocate for my community. I learned that I could put my faith into action because I firmly believe that there is that of God in every person, including members of Congress and their staff. I was determined to join the next class of the Advocacy Corps, where I worked on an issue close to my heart: immigration.

It was because of my time as an Advocacy Corps organizer and as someone who attended multiple Spring Lobby Weekend and Annual Meetings that I decided to apply for the summer internship at FCNL. I had seen FCNL from a distance, but this summer I wanted a behind-the-scenes look at Washington, DC and the FCNL office. I worked in the Young Adult outreach department where I got the chance to connect young people with questions for candidates and helped text our young adult network to encourage action in Congress. I also had the opportunity to work on the training that helped get me started as an Advocacy Corps organizer: the Washington Summer Intensive.

Seeing the Washington Summer Intensive from a staff perspective was a totally new experience. As a summer intern, my responsibility was to help new Advocacy Corps organizers schedule lobby visits and produce congressional profiles of the members they will be working with. Just like in my year, I felt inspired by each individual organizer’s story and learned about the reason they felt led to advocate in their local communities for change. I gave a training on how to schedule your lobby visits back home and heard from other past Advocacy Corps organizers about media and community organizing. As a group, we heard from speakers from all over the political spectrum about why they care about this issue. Organizers left feeling prepared and ready to empower their communities to lobby for change.

The Advocacy Corps is a unique program in this country in empowering young adults with the skills related to activism and organizing that they need to be lifelong advocates. I’m leaving this summer internship feeling hopeful about the future of faith-based activism. I know I’ll be in touch with many of my peers, both in this class, in previous classes and in our larger young adult network, because I know that together we can create the world we seek.

Sergio Mata

  • 2018 Summer Intern

Sergio Mata is currently studying Theology with a concentration in Pastoral Ministries at Houghton College. This summer, Sergio worked with Young Adult Program Manager Katie Breslin on Young Adult Outreach.